Evid Based Nurs 8:123 doi:10.1136/ebn.8.4.123
  • Qualitative

Mothers of children at risk described engaging with home visitors in terms of limiting family vulnerability

 Q How do mothers of children at risk describe the process of engaging with public health nurses (PHNs) and family visitors (FVs) in a home visiting programme?


Grounded theory.


Southwestern Ontario, Canada.


A purposeful sample of 20 English speaking mothers who had received ⩾1 PHN visit and ⩾3 FV visits after they had been identified as high risk because of social or economic factors.


Mothers participated in 1–3 semistructured interviews of 60–90 minutes, which addressed their experiences and expectations of engagement with PHNs and FVs. 29 interviews were conducted (11 by telephone). Interviewer field notes and client records were also reviewed. Data were analysed using open, selective, and theoretical coding. Checks for data credibility included peer debriefing and member checks by 8 participants.


Mothers described feeling vulnerable because PHNs and FVs had the power to alter family structure. When mothers risked participating in home visits, they engaged in a social process to limit family vulnerability, which involved 3 phases: overcoming fear, building trust, and seeking mutuality. These phases comprised a circular …

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