Evid Based Nurs 5:94 doi:10.1136/ebn.5.3.94
  • Qualitative

Public health nurses used 4 strategies to facilitate client empowerment

 QUESTION: What is the practical meaning of empowerment to public health nurses and their clients?


Exploratory qualitative design.


1 urban/rural and 2 rural health units in southwestern Ontario, Canada.


24 public health nurses (100% women, mean 14.2 y in public health nursing) and 6 clients (83% women).


Nurses participated in a series of 3 two hour focus groups (5–9 participants per group; 71% participated in all 3 groups). Research questions were addressed using the nominal group technique. The researcher took field notes during the focus groups. Nurses identified clients whom they thought were empowered through their practice, and consenting clients were interviewed for about 1 hour using an interview guide. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. All data were coded and used to develop a model of empowerment.

Main findings

Nurses conceptualised empowerment as an active, internal process of growth that was …

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