The community health center (CHC) model of care delivery is gaining acceptance throughout Canada's newly created rural health regions. The resulting change in nursing functions presents a challenge to regional health authorities to ensure the attainment and maintenance of practice competencies.
This qualitative study examined strategies used in selected parts of Canada to prepare and support rural diploma-prepared nurses for role transition from acute care into CHCs.
In light of CHC nurses' increased degree of autonomy, skill level, and focus on community wellness, the findings indicate a need for additional educational preparation and supportive strategies for transitioning nurses.
Regions should educate the public and staff about the principles of primary health care, population health, and factors that determine health to help stakeholders understand their community, the current gaps in service delivery, and the role of CHC nurses. Key players at the provincial level should work together to address competency issues and continuing education needs of nurses in career transition.