Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

Community Nursing Research: Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

Community Nursing Research: Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Article excerpt

After a 10-year history of community health nursing research conducted by graduate students at the Universidad Antonoma de Nuevo-Leon in Monterrey, Mexico, the faculty recognized a need to synthesize their work into a monograph. The purpose was to guide nursing practice, incorporate the findings into the body of nursing knowledge, and identify future research needs. Starting in 1994, three faculty members reviewed 29 theses written by community nursing majors from 1986 to 1993 to meet the requirements for the master's degree in nursing. They classified the studies according to their principal focus and synthesized the findings to derive common phenomena and themes. The endeavor resulted in a 40-page document and a proposed model in the form of an unpublished monograph. For this article, parts of the monograph are summarized and translated into English.

Master's degree students at the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon College of Nursing have conducted research since the inception of the graduate nursing program in 1982. From the first days of the program, community health was the specialty of choice for graduate students because of the emphasis on health promotion and illness prevention by the federal department of health (Programa Nacional de Salud, Centro de Salud) and the role that universities are expected to play in the improvement of social and health conditions.

Until recently, this university had the only program in the Country offering a graduate degree in nursing. Nurses desiring graduate education in Mexico were often compelled to seek graduate degrees in education and public health. Therefore, research has often been conducted using the research paradigms of other disciplines. The development of other graduate programs in nursing and the growing number of nurses conducting research are indicative of nursing's support for the improvement of practice and the advancement of a body of knowledge based on critical thinking and research.

Factors that have influenced the type and quality of research in community nursing in Mexico mirror developments in the United States. First, because nursing is a practice profession, research has been directed toward the health needs of society rather than for pure knowledge. Second, most research has been descriptive, which is the usual pattern when an area of research is in its initial state of development and the, level of knowledge is limited. It has been necessary to define and describe phenomena of interest to community nurses before implementing relational and experimental designs to explain and control phenomena. Other factors are lack of preparation in research methodology and the difficulty of obtaining funding for research.

On a more positive note, there has been an increasing interest in research by practicing nurses. Most large hospitals now have research departments that employ nurse researchers. Research symposia are held frequently throughout Mexico, and the work presented often originates in hospitals.

Focus of the Studies Twenty-four studies included in this article are classified according to the health needs of specific population groups: women, adolescents, adults, the elderly, children and infants, and the family unit. There are also five papers on health care delivery. The papers in each area of study are outlined in tables, with a brief summary of results. In addition, implications for further research and education are provided.

The investigations were conducted in lower socioeconomic colonias, outlying suburbs of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, in northern Mexico. According to recent statistics, Nuevo Leon has the most favorable economic situation of all Mexican states. However, families in these areas, with an average of three working adults, have an average high monthly income of $125 US (1). This income is classified as within the poverty level, but 30 percent of all Mexicans live in conditions of absolute poverty, or earn less than $100 US per month. …

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