n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - The nature of community health care centre practice environments in a province in South Africa

Volume 18 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


The practice environment plays an important role in nursing. Currently, limited information seems to exist on the nature of practice environments within the primary health care (PHC) context of the public health care sector of South Africa. This study describes the demographic profile of community health care centres (CHCs) and professional nurses (PNs) as well as the current status of the practice environment of nurses in the PHC context. A quantitative, descriptive cross-sectional survey design was used. Firstly, demographic data of the CHCs (N=41; n=26) was obtained. Secondly, PNs (N=291; n=195) were surveyed using the Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index (PESNWI)and questions focussing on their demographic profile. The demographic profile of CHCs and PNs was described and the confirmatory analysis of the PES-NWI showed that the survey was valid in the PHC context of South Africa. The Cronbach alpha ranged between 0.68 and 0.86. Nurses disagreed that the sub-scales named staffing and resource adequacy and nurse participation in PHC/CHC affairs were present in their practice environments. Development and implementation of a positive practice environment programme for the South African PHC context could improve the well-being of nurses and assist in the delivery of quality care to patients.

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