A case study of the contributions of public health nurses to infant mental health promotion in Newfoundland and Labrador

Norton, Emily Catherine (2021) A case study of the contributions of public health nurses to infant mental health promotion in Newfoundland and Labrador. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Promoting infant mental health or supporting the baby’s healthy social and emotional development during the first year of life is critical for a child’s healthy development and future mental health well-being. This knowledge has been slow to be integrated into the education of public health nurses, who provide key maternal-child services in Newfoundland and Labrador. This single instrumental case study explored public health nurses’ education about infant mental health (IMH), and their work experiences in dealing with young families, in order to identify ways to better promote infant mental health. Data collected through key document review and semi-structured interviews with key informants and public health nurses indicate that public health nurses provide numerous maternal-child services. However, they have many other roles that limit their time and ability to promote maternal-infant mental health, as mothers and babies wellbeing are very much interconnected. Most nurses stated feeling under-prepared to effectively promote maternal-infant mental health when they first started in public health and reported having varying levels of education in this field. Furthermore, they declared mostly relying on experiential knowledge to supplement their education. Time, resource, and geographical barriers may impede nurses’ access to education about infant mental health and its promotion. Effectively educating public health nurses about infant mental health promotion and addressing institutional barriers such as time, supportive infrastructure, and expanding scope of practice will aid in promoting lifelong mental wellness for these populations.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14990
Item ID: 14990
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 137-163).
Keywords: infant mental health, health promotion, public health nursing, case study
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of > Community Health
Date: February 2021
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/pb32-fn16
Medical Subject Heading: Infant; Child; Mothers; Infant Health; Mental Health; Emotions; Public Health Nursing; Health Promotion; Newfoundland and Labrador

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