The purpose of this study was to ascertain the image of the public health nurse as seen by the medically indigent prenatal patient who has had a public health nursing visit in the home. With this knowledge, she could plan a more effective approach, provide better services, and be better prepared to meet the needs of the prenatal patient. This study was aimed to explore the patients' concepts of the public health nurse's personal characteristics, her functions, and comparison of her image with other helping professions and to identify influencing factors affecting image formation. The exploratory approach was used and interviews were conducted with the aid of an interview guide on one-hundred prenatal patients in one county hospital prenatal clinic. The sample was chosen from available charts by the simple random method. The public health nurse was seen as a "helping" person with good personal qualities. Her functions were rated highest in the areas of baby and child care, care of the ill, and family planning. The patients were usually satisfied with the services received. The preferred approach by the patients was to be given ideas and decide for themselves. The patients preferred a public health nurse between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-nine and stated no racial preference. Most respondents either did not care or preferred that the PHN [Public Health Nurse] not wear a uniform. The public health nurse was viewed as having less education than the hospital registered nurse. She compared favorably with the teacher and social worker. Further study could profitably be conducted on the following questions: (1) How does the desire for family planning correlate with cultural background? (2) Would an authoritative approach with patients increase or decrease the patients' respect and prestige for the public health nurse? (3) Why is the educational level of the hospital registered nurse rated higher than the PHN's? (4) How does the type of dress affect the patient's image of the public health nurse when a uniform is not worn? (5) Do patients consistently prefer a PHN of their own age to visit them? and (6) How would the findings of this study compare with similar studies using patients who have received nursing care in the home?

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Ruth Margaret White

Second Advisor

Paul William Dysinger

Third Advisor

James Heber Stirling

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Nurse-Patient Relations; Nurse-Patient Relations--Case Reports.



Page Count

vi; 57

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives