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Interdisciplinary Perceptions of the Public Health Nurse

Robert H. Geertsma and Glen E. Hastings
Medical Care
Vol. 9, No. 2 (Mar. - Apr., 1971), pp. 152-159
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3763183
Page Count: 8
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Interdisciplinary Perceptions of the Public Health Nurse
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Abstract

This is a study of the role and functional relationships of the public health nurse (PHN) as perceived by other health care workers. Two hundred and twenty-seven subjects, comprising subgroups of medical students, nursing students, PT students, public health nurses, nursing faculty, academic physicians, and preventive medical staff, used a specially constructed 64-item rating instrument to describe their perceptions of the PHN. Factor analysis of these data yielded five interpretable factors, which were subsequently termed, 1. Denial of Incompetence, 2. Interpersonal Skills, 3. Physician Dominance, 4. Induced Role Ambiguity, and 5. Effectiveness. The mean factor scores on these factors for the seven subject groups evidenced two types of profiles, the first PHN convergent (signed +, +, -, -, +, on the five factors respectively) and the second physician convergent (signed -, -, +, +, -, on the five factors). In general terms, the PHN convergent profile, which was common to the student nurse, PHN, and preventive medicine staff groups, represented a positive view of the PHN and the physician convergent profile, which characterized the medical student and academic physician groups, was negative. The nursing faculty group profile was physician convergent except for its disavowal of Physician Dominance. These discrepancies in describing the PHN are discussed in terms of their implications for interorganizational and interprofessional conflict, and their relationship to the health care education system are considered.

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