Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Nursing


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Nancy Hudson-Rodd

Second Supervisor

Dr Rycki Maltby


The expectations of young families regarding care they would like to receive from community nurses working in the child health area is affected by the relationship between those expectations, utilisation and sociocultural factors such as family type, family composition and ethnicity. These factors influence family dynamics, needs, functioning and interactions with the wider community. A descriptive study with both quantitative and qualitative components was used to identify and analyse the self-identified requirements of young families utilising Child Health Services in the Belmont area, Western Australia, and their patterns of utilisation. Twenty five women who had a child or children under 5 years of age were interviewed. The study was guided by a conceptual framework provided by the Ottawa Charter (World Health Organisation-Health and Welfare Canada-Canadian Public Health Organisation, 1996). The three main themes that emerged from the data showed that the young families identified knowledge acquisition, reassurance of normal growth and development and accessibility as their key self-perceived requirements of Child Health Services. Family type, family composition and ethnicity were examined within the contexts of these themes, resulting in a greater understanding of the child health issues relating to all types of family groups. The challenge for the providers of Child Health Services is to provide culturally appropriate Child Health Services based on the principles of primary health care within an environment experiencing fiscal restraint The long term benefits to the families and the health care system are not easily evaluated but have important and wide ranging positive effects on the health and wellbeing of the community.