Everyday District Nurses' Experiences Revealed Through Distillation: Palliative Care in the Community - an Action Research Project
Distillation is used to extract and reveal essential oils and essences. Action research is a methodology that enables distillation of nurses' experiences, to reveal previously unseen elements and essences of nursing care, to identify issues and to extract tangible change or action outcomes. This modified action research inquiry focused on the everyday, palliative care practice experiences of a group of district nurses. The intent was to develop an understanding of common issues of concern for this group of district nurses when providing palliative home care in a specific community context and to implement practical, achievable strategies in response to these local issues. Five district nurses identified four broad areas for action through four praxis group meetings and comprising one full cycle. These four areas have been named as methods of enhancing support for people and families, possibilities for creatively managing workloads, mechanisms to enrich working partnership with other palliative care providers and possible vehicles for supporting nurses' self care. Implementation of action from this action research project focused on enhancing care and outcomes for people and family served by this group of district nurses in their local community. This study illuminates everyday essences of the district nurse role and the elements articulated by this group in supporting their practice in one New Zealand community. This study also reveals some of the tensions and messiness when employing an action research methodology with nurses in the workplace. This research focused on a little known area (palliative care delivered by district nurses in New Zealand) in a local community (a culturally vibrant and ethnically diverse yet with poor health and socioeconomic statistics). It has resonance with other nurses, particularly those working in community settings who may experience similar issues and concerns. This research also offers important insights for nurses working in any practice setting, with a desire to unpick and distill local issues they encounter - to take action and make a difference.