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The Primacy of Relationships: A Study of Public Health Nursing Practice from a Critical Caring Perspective

Falk-Rafael, Adeline PhD, RN, FAAN; Betker, Claire MN, RN, CCHN(C)

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0b013e318271d127
Original Articles

Critical caring is a midrange theory proposed as a framework to guide public health nursing practice. This article reports findings of a study that examined the relevance of the theory to the practice of expert public health nurses (PHNs). Twenty-six PHNs participated in this study: 10 in interviews and 16 in 2 focus groups. Findings support the relevance of critical caring to PHN practice, explicated, and further refined the theory through the richness of participants' practice accounts As such, it has potential as a tool of resistance to forces that limit PHNs working to their full scope of practice.

York University School of Nursing, Toronto, Ontario (Dr Falk-Rafael); and College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada (Ms Betker).

Correspondence: Adeline Falk-Rafael, PhD, RN, FAAN, York University, Room 349, 4700 Keele St Toronto, ON M3J IP3 (

This study was partially funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Sigma Theta Tau International, Iota Omicron Chapter.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.