Practice nurses and providing preconception care to women in Australia: A qualitative study

Ruth Walker, Pragya Kandel, Briony Hill, Sharon Hills, James Dunbar, Helen Skouteris

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The aims of this study were to explore women's and health professionals' perspectives of preconception care and whether expanding the role of practice nurses (PNs) to provide preconception care is acceptable. In a descriptive qualitative approach, 23 semistructured interviews and three focus groups were conducted with women (n = 14), PNs (n = 8), GPS (n = 10) and practice managers (n = 2) in the state of Victoria, Australia, between September and December 2019. An inductive process of thematic analysis identified five themes and 12 subthemes. Women and health professionals viewed preconception to be when a woman is planning a pregnancy. Women wanted personalised preconception care, and receiving this from a PN was considered to be acceptable. If the role of PNs is expanded, PNs would require training and professional recognition of their role to provide preconception care. Funding barriers were discussed by PNs, GPS and practice managers, along with potential solutions, such as Medicare item numbers and checklists to streamline consultations. Other resources in the wider community, such as schools, were identified as important aspects of a coordinated approach. Overall, expanding the role of PNs to provide preconception care was acceptable to women and health professionals to increase women's awareness and uptake of preconception care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • primary health care
  • professional practice
  • women's health service

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