This presentation seeks to discuss findings from a recent systematic review that aimed to establish the evidence base for public health nurse led interventions in reducing inequalities in health among children, young people and their families. In particular, the presenter will reflect on what works in reducing health inequalities. The presentation will include a brief background section to contextualise the findings. This section will reflect on public health nursing practice globally in countries where the service exists and introduce the health inequalities concept. We will review the methods used to retrieve the evidence and reflect further on the findings. Summary of the evidence: The bulk of public health nursing interventions is constituted by individual level- behaviour change interventions consistent with the larger public health interventions landscape. The presentation will then seek to explore what these major findings mean for the reduction of health inequalities. The relationship between behaviour change and the reduction of health inequalities will be discussed. We shall further discuss how the focus on individualised interventions by public health nurses addresses the inequalities in health agenda and reflect especially on the thesis by Arlabaster et al (1996) who opined that ‘the general assumption that the application of effective health care interventions reduces health inequalities is innacurate’. On the same vein we shall reflect on the use of behavioural theory in the design of effective public health nursing interventions. The review also revealed that contemporary public health nursing interventions mostly focused on disadvantaged populations. We shall seek to explore how this focus on vulnerable populations addresses the issue of health inequalities and reflect on the inadequate focus on community, societal and policy level interventions and what it means for health inequalities. Finally, we shall discuss the strengths and limitations of the systematic review and present the conclusions that have been drawn from the review.
Audience Take Away:
• This presentation is particularly useful to the public health nursing community including practitioners, researchers, service commissioners and health authorities across the globe where the public health nursing service exists. Knowledge gained from this presentation will be useful in informing the design of equitable, effective and appropriate public health nursing interventions.
• The presentation also highlights the areas in which public health nursing potential has remained untapped including in the design and delivery of community, societal and policy level interventions and thus researchers and faculty have the opportunity to explore this areas in order to build a definitive evidence base for public health nursing practice.