Conceptualising a model to guide nursing and midwifery in the community guided by an evidence review

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Leahy-Warren, Patricia
Mulcahy, Helen
Benefield, Lazelle
Bradley, Colin P.
Coffey, Alice
Donohoe, Ann
Fitzgerald, Serena M.
Frawley, Tim
Healy, Elizabeth
Healy, Maria
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Background: Successful models of nursing and midwifery in the community delivering healthcare throughout the lifespan and across a health and illness continuum are limited, yet necessary to guide global health services. Primary and community health services are the typical points of access for most people and the location where most care is delivered. The scope of primary healthcare is complex and multifaceted and therefore requires a practice framework with sound conceptual and theoretical underpinnings. The aim of this paper is to present a conceptual model informed by a scoping evidence review of the literature. Methods: A scoping evidence review of the literature was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement. Databases included CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO and SocINDEX using the EBSCO platform and the Cochrane Library using the keywords: model, nursing, midwifery, community, primary care. Grey literature for selected countries was searched using the Google ‘advanced’ search interface. Data extraction and quality appraisal for both empirical and grey literature were conducted independently by two reviewers. From 127 empirical and 24 non-empirical papers, data extraction parameters, in addition to the usual methodological features, included: the nature of nursing and midwifery; the population group; interventions and main outcomes; components of effective nursing and midwifery outcomes. Results: The evidence was categorised into six broad areas and subsequently synthesised into four themes. These were not mutually exclusive: (1) Integrated and Collaborative Care; (2) Organisation and Delivery of Nursing and Midwifery Care in the Community; (3) Adjuncts to Nursing Care and (4) Overarching Conceptual Model. It is the latter theme that is the focus of this paper. In essence, the model depicts a person/client on a lifespan and preventative-curative trajectory. The health related needs of the client, commensurate with their point position, relative to both trajectories, determines the nurse or midwife intervention. Consequently, it is this need, that determines the discipline or speciality of the nurse or midwife with the most appropriate competencies. Conclusion: Use of a conceptual model of nursing and midwifery to inform decision-making in primary/community based care ensures clinical outcomes are meaningful and more sustainable. Operationalising this model for nursing and midwifery in the community demands strong leadership and effective clinical governance.
Conceptual model , Nursing , Midwifery , Community , Primary care , Scoping review
Leahy-Warren, P., Mulcahy, H., Benefield, L., Bradley, C., Coffey, A., Donohoe, A., Fitzgerald, S., Frawley, T., Healy, E., Healy, M., Kelly, M., McCarthy, B., McLoughlin, K., Meagher, C., O’Connell, R., O’Mahony, A., Paul, G., Phelan, A., Stokes, D., Walsh, J. and Savage, E. (2017) 'Conceptualising a model to guide nursing and midwifery in the community guided by an evidence review', BMC Nursing, 16: 35 (13pp). doi:10.1186/s12912-017-0225-3
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© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access. Published by BioMed Central. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.