Exploring the perspectives of health visitors and school nurses who have had experience supporting families affected by parental imprisonment A qualitative study
Keywords:Imprisonment, Prisoners, Family, Children, Mothers, Fathers, Support, Help, Community-Based, School Nurse, Health Visitor, Specialist Community Public Health Nurse, Community Practitioners, Perspectives
Background: The research aimed to explore a gap in the literature relating to the perspectives of Health Visitors and School Nurses who have had experience supporting families affected by parental imprisonment to establish if there are any specific barriers experienced when working with this distinct group.
Methods: The research adopted a qualitative design, utilising an online focus group discussion board format. ‘Collabito ’cloud software was used to record and transcribe the data. Thematic analysis was employed to identify, analyse, and report patterns within the data. The study used a homogenous sample of 6 Health Visitors, 8 School Nurses and 1 Registered Nurse undertaking the School Nursing Specialist Community Public Health Nursing course. Gatekeepers were used to generate an appropriate sample who were recruited via professional social media pages and via Liverpool John Moores University course lecturers
Results: All participants had some understanding on children of offenders although failed in identify them as a distinct group. There were differing opinions on how best to identify these families with some believing parental imprisonment should trigger children’s social care involvement. Interestingly, the effects of parental imprisonment could be identified, however no participants had acknowledged or addressed these needs in practice. Awareness on support provisions was extremely limited, with only one participant being able to identify any provision for this group. A considerable barrier discussed was the lack of training provided to School Nurses and Health Visitors to enable them to adequately support children of offenders and their families, however all felt with the right support they were ideally placed to provide this service.
Conclusion: Health Visiting and School Nursing services should ask families about parental imprisonment at all core contacts. Training on children of offenders should be included within all Specialist Community Public Health Nursing university courses thereby ensuring that all School Nurses and Health Visitors have knowledge on his cohort before entry into this field of public health nursing. Furthermore, children of offenders training should become mandated across the School Nursing and Health Visiting services to ensure all professionals have sound, up to date knowledge on how to support this distinct group. Further research is needed to explore the impact that the Covid-19 Pandemic had on this cohort of children and their families and to ascertain families’ perspectives of being supported by School Nurses and Health Visitors following the imprisonment of a family member.
Copyright (c) 2023 Nicola Tucker
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