Aims and objectives: To explore service provision for Victorian regional refugee families from the perspective of maternal and child health nurses. Background: Increasingly, more families from a refugee background are resettling in regional Victoria. The refugee journey has significant effect on families. Refugee families with infants and young children can be provided with support by maternal and child health services; however, many families experience barriers to ongoing engagement with this service. Design: This descriptive study used focus group and questionnaire. A purposive sample of 26 maternal and child health nurses was drawn from six municipalities throughout regional Victoria, where higher numbers of people from a refugee background resettle. Six focus groups were held in 2014. Audio-recorded narratives were transcribed, prior to inductive thematic analysis. Methods: This descriptive study used focus group and questionnaire. A purposive sample of 26 Maternal and Child Health nurses was drawn from six municipalities throughout regional Victoria where higher numbers of people from a refugee background resettle. Six focus groups were held in 2014. Audio-recorded narratives were transcribed verbatim, prior to inductive thematic analysis. Results: Participating nurses were experienced nurses, averaging 12 years in the service. Four major themes emerged from thematic analysis: "How to identify women from a refugee background" "The Maternal and Child Health nurse role when working with families from a refugee background" "Interpreting issues" and "Access to other referral agencies." Nurses worked to develop a relationship with families, attending to a complex mix of issues which were complicated by language barriers. Nurses found their role in supporting refugee families required additional time and more home visits. Conclusions: To provide best practice, maternal and child health nurses need (i) ongoing professional development; (ii) time, flexibility and creativity to build relationships with refugee families and (iii) better access to services that enhance communication, such as interpreting services and translated resources. Relevance to clinical practice: Nurses require ongoing professional development to help them address the multifaceted needs of families of refugee background. With limited resources available in regional areas, accessing further education can be challenging. Distance education models and organisational support could provide nurses with educational opportunities aimed at improving service provision and clinical practice.
- Continuing education
- Maternal child health service
- Nursing and midwifery
- Refugees and asylum seekers