Primary health care nurses' promotion of involuntary migrant families' health

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Background:Involuntary migrant families in cultural transition face a number of challenges to their health and to family cohesion. Primary health care nurses (PHCNs) therefore play a vital role in the assessment and promotion of their health.Aim:The aim of this study was to describe the promotion of health in involuntary migrant families in cultural transition as conceptualized by Swedish PHCNs.Method:Interviews were conducted with 34 strategically chosen PHCNs covering the entire range of the primary health care sector in two municipalities of Southern Sweden. A contextual approach with reference to phenomenography was used in interpreting the data.Findings:There are three qualitatively different descriptive categories epitomizing the characteristics of the PHCNs' promotion of health: (1) an ethnocentric approach promoting physical health of the individual, (2) an empathic approach promoting mental health of the individual in a family context, and (3) a holistic approach empowering the family to function well in everyday life.Conclusions:For nurses to promote involuntary migrant families'health in cultural transition, they need to adopt a holistic approach. Such an approach demands that nurses cooperate with other health care professionals and community authorities, and practise family-focused nursing; it also demands skills in intercultural communication paired with cultural self-awareness in interacting with these families. Adequate knowledge regarding these skills should therefore be included in the education of nurses, both at under- and at post-graduate level.

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