Remote area nursing: Best practice or paternalism in action? The importance of consumer perspectives on primary health care nursing practice in remote communities
Australian Journal of Primary Health
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Australian Postgraduate Award Western Australian Department of Health
© 2021 La Trobe University. This paper reports on a study that aimed to understand how remote area nurses implemented primary health care principles in the Australian remote health care setting. Twenty-four Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners who worked in remote health services without inpatient facilities were interviewed using constructivist grounded theory methods. Findings revealed that nurses in this study aimed to practice in a way that was guided by Indigenous empowerment and social justice. However, some nurses questioned elements of their practice such as 'chasing' people for appointments or routine screening required by clinical guidelines that may not reflect the values of Indigenous peoples. Nurses expressed concern that they may be reinforcing past colonising practices and their actions may be considered paternalistic rather than empowering. Nurses in this study wanted to develop partnerships and provide nursing care that aligned with the health and wellbeing expectations of communities. However, ways of communicating the needs of communities and the development of partnerships between health providers and communities need to be developed. The present study calls for further research from the perspective of remote community members in order to develop ways of sharing knowledge about health and wellbeing between remote area nurses and communities.