• Health inequalities as a foundation for embodying knowledge within public health teaching: a qualitative study

      Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; University of Chester (BioMed Central, 2013-06-28)
      Introduction: Recent UK health policies identified nurses as key contributors to the social justice agenda of reducing health inequalities, on the assumption that all nurses understand and wish to contribute to public health. Following this policy shift, public health content within pre-registration nursing curricula increased. However, public health nurse educators (PHNEs) had various backgrounds, and some had limited formal public health training, or involvement in or understanding of policy required to contribute effectively to it. Their knowledge of this subject, their understanding and interpretation of how it could be taught, was not fully understood. Methodology This research aimed to understand how public health nurse educators’ professional knowledge could be conceptualised and to develop a substantive theory of their knowledge of teaching public health, using a qualitative data analysis approach. Qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews (n=26) were conducted with eleven university-based PHNEs. Results Integrating public health into all aspects of life was seen as central to the knowing and teaching of public health; this was conceptualised as ‘embodying knowledge’. Participants identified the meaning of embodying knowledge for teaching public health as: (a) possessing a wider vision of health; (b) reflecting and learning from experience; and (c) engaging in appropriate pedagogical practices. Conclusion The concept of public health can mean different things to different people. The variations of meaning ascribed to public health reflect the various backgrounds from which the public health workforce is drawn. The analysis indicates that PHNEs are embodying knowledge for teaching through critical pedagogy, which involves them engaging in transformative, interpretive and integrative processes to refashion public health concepts; this requires PHNEs who possess a vision of what to teach, know how to teach, and are able to learn from experience. Their vision of public health is influenced by social justice principles in that health inequalities, socioeconomic determinants of health, epidemiology, and policy and politics are seen as essential areas of the public health curriculum. They believe in forms of teaching that achieve social transformation at individual, behavioural and societal levels, while also enabling learners to recognise their capacity to effect change.
    • Public health nurse educators’ Conceptualisation of public health as a strategy to reduce health inequalities: A qualitative study

      Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; University of Chester (BioMed Central, 2015-02-03)
      Background Nurses have long been identified as key contributors to strategies to reduce health inequalities. However, health inequalities are increasing in the UK despite policy measures put in place to reduce them. This raises questions about: convergence between policy makers’ and nurses’ understanding of how inequalities in health are created and sustained and educational preparation for the role as contributors in reducing health inequalities. Aim The aim of this qualitative research project is to determine public health nurse educators’ understanding of public health as a strategy to reduce health inequalities. Method 26 semi-structured interviews were conducted with higher education institution-based public health nurse educators. Findings Public health nurse educators described health inequalities as the foundation on which a public health framework should be built. Two distinct views emerged of how health inequalities should be tackled: some proposed a population approach focusing on upstream preventive strategies, whilst others proposed behavioural approaches focusing on empowering vulnerable individuals to improve their own health. Conclusion Despite upstream interventions to reduce inequalities in health being proved to have more leverage than individual behavioural interventions in tackling the fundamental causes of health inequalities, some nurses have a better understanding of individual interventions than take population approaches.
    • Social conditions of becoming homelessness: qualitative analysis of life stories of homeless peoples

      Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; Asmait, Yohannes; Griffith, Mariska; University of Chester; Mount Sanai Healthcare System, New York, University of Chester (BioMed Central, 2017-08-22)
      Background It is increasingly acknowledged that homelessness is a more complex social and public health phenomenon than the absence of a place to live. This view signifies a paradigm shift, from the definition of homelessness in terms of the absence of permanent accommodation, with its focus on pathways out of homelessness through the acquisition and maintenance of permanent housing, to understanding the social context of homelessness and social interventions to prevent it. However, despite evidence of the association between homelessness and social factors, there is very little research that examines the wider social context within which homelessness occurs from the perspective of homeless people themselves. This study aims to examine the stories of homeless people to gain understanding of the social conditions under which homelessness occurs, in order to propose a theoretical explanation for it. Method Twenty-six semi-structured interviews were conducted with homeless people in three centres for homeless people in Cheshire North West of England. Results The analysis revealed that becoming homeless is a process characterised by a progressive waning of resilience capacity to cope with life challenges created by series of adverse incidents in one’s life. The data show that final stage in the process of becoming homeless is complete collapse of relationships with those close to them. Most prominent pattern of behaviours participants often describe as main causes of breakdown of their relationships are: 1. engaging in maladaptive behavioural lifestyle including taking drugs and/or excessive alcohol drinking 2. Being in trouble with people in authorities. Conclusion Homeless people describe the immediate behavioural causes of homelessness, however, the analysis revealed the social and economic conditions within which homelessness occurred. The participants’ descriptions of the social conditions in which were raised and their references to maladaptive behaviours which led to them becoming homeless, led us to conclude that they believe that their social condition affected their life chances: that these conditions were responsible for their low quality of social connections, poor educational attainment, insecure employment and other reduced life opportunities available to them.