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Glob Health Sci Pract. 2015 Dec 17;3(4):660-75. doi: 10.9745/GHSP-D-15-00142. Print 2015 Dec.

Nurse Mentors to Advance Quality Improvement in Primary Health Centers: Lessons From a Pilot Program in Northern Karnataka, India.

Author information

1
IntraHealth International, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
2
Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, Bangalore, India University of Manitoba, Department of Community Health Services, Winnipeg, Canada.
3
Karnataka Health Promotion Trust, Bangalore, India.
4
St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, St. John's Research Institute, Bangalore, India.
5
University of Manitoba, Department of Community Health Services, Winnipeg, Canada.

Abstract

High-quality care during labor, delivery, and the postpartum period is critically important since maternal and child morbidity and mortality are linked to complications that arise during these stages. A nurse mentoring program was implemented in northern Karnataka, India, to improve quality of services at primary health centers (PHCs), the lowest level in the public health system that offers basic obstetric care. The intervention, conducted between August 2012 and July 2014, employed 53 full-time nurse mentors and was scaled-up in 385 PHCs in 8 poor rural districts. Each mentor was responsible for 6 to 8 PHCs and conducted roughly 6 mentoring visits per PHC in the first year. This paper reports the results of a qualitative inquiry, conducted between September 2012 and April 2014, assessing the program's successes and challenges from the perspective of mentors and PHC teams. Data were gathered through 13 observations, 9 focus group discussions with mentors, and 25 individual and group interviews with PHC nurses, medical officers, and district health officers. Mentors and PHC staff and leaders reported a number of successes, including development of rapport and trust between mentors and PHC staff, introduction of team-based quality improvement processes, correct and consistent use of a new case sheet to ensure adherence to clinical guidelines, and increases in staff nurses' knowledge and skills. Overall, nurses in many PHCs reported an increased ability to provide care according to guidelines and to handle maternal and newborn complications, along with improvements in equipment and supplies and referral management. Challenges included high service delivery volumes and/or understaffing at some PHCs, unsupportive or absent PHC leadership, and cultural practices that impacted quality. Comprehensive mentoring can build competence and improve performance by combining on-the-job clinical and technical support, applying quality improvement principles, and promoting team-based problem solving.

PMID:
26681711
PMCID:
PMC4682589
DOI:
10.9745/GHSP-D-15-00142
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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