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Investigating the contribution of community nurses to anticipatory care: a qualitative exploratory study

Kennedy, Catriona; Harbison, Jean; Mahoney, Catherine M; Jarvis, Alison; Veitch, Linda


Catriona Kennedy

Jean Harbison

Alison Jarvis

Linda Veitch


Aims.  To investigate how one aspect of anticipatory care is understood and delivered in practice. ‘Anticipatory care’ in this context can be understood as proactive care, which is oriented towards prevention of adverse events.

Background.  Scotland has identified the intention to move away from a preoccupation with acute care and invest in health improvement and anticipatory care. Community nurses are the key, yet little is known about how they understand and deliver anticipatory care.

Methods.  A qualitative case study design using individual in-depth interviews (n = 10), observation (n = 9) and focus groups (n = 5) was selected. Five focus group interviews were carried out with district nurses, practice nurses and health visitors. Subsequently, nine observation events took place, each focused on a single nurse/client encounter. Data were collected during 2008 and 2009 in one Community Health Partnership in Scotland.

Findings.  Two approaches to anticipatory care emerged; these were influenced by participants’ roles and responsibilities. Approach 1 derives from Government policy agenda and is focused on protocol-focused management of long-term illness. Approach 2 is synonymous with long-standing nursing activity focused on holistic care of individual patients. Both approaches are proactive in nature.

Conclusions.  There is scope to develop a more conceptually complex model of anticipatory care, building on this initial exploration, within which all aims, roles, practices and methods of evaluation can be located and clearly visible. This offers the potential to enable practitioners to interpret and apply policy – otherwise change may be limited and result in service gaps.


Kennedy, C., Harbison, J., Mahoney, C. M., Jarvis, A., & Veitch, L. (2011). Investigating the contribution of community nurses to anticipatory care: a qualitative exploratory study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67, 1558-1567.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2011
Deposit Date Mar 27, 2014
Print ISSN 0309-2402
Electronic ISSN 1365-2648
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 67
Pages 1558-1567
Keywords anticipatory care; community health nursing; self-care;
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