Public health nurses in Finland help to prevent postnatal depression
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Public health nurses in Finland help to prevent postnatal depression

Tarja Tammentie Ward manager, Pitkäniemi Hospital, Finland
Eija Paavilainen Professor, School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Etelä-Pohjanmaa Hospital District
Päivi Åstedt-Kurki Professor, University of Tampere, Research Unit, Pirkanmaa Hospital District
Marja-Terttu Tarkka Docent, School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere

Tarja Tammentie and colleagues report on a study into how community services in Finland work with families to support mothers and babies

Aim The aim of the study was to investigate public health nurses’ interaction with families in the child health clinic setting where the mother is at risk of postnatal depression.

Method Tape recorded interviews were conducted with 14 public health nurses working in different child health clinics in Finland.

Findings The significant concepts that emerged from the data were the importance of discussion with the family, providing information and counselling, meeting the family, functionality of the relationship between the public health nurse and the family, and being professional. The relationships between these concepts take shape through preventing, identifying and treating postnatal depression. The core category to which all concepts are connected was identified as holistic co-operation with an individual family.

Conclusion The public health nurse’s role in the child health clinic is to provide information and guidance, listen and answer families’ needs. Child health clinics are central places for families with newborns, and the work should be family-orientated. This could be achieved by inviting fathers to the clinic and discussing family issues, and asking concrete questions related to everyday life.

Primary Health Care. 23, 1, 26-31. doi: 10.7748/phc2013.


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 29 February 2012

Accepted: 20 June 2012