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Family Nursing

Family nursing is a practice based on a holistic approach, whereby the main element receiving health services is the family. The definition of the latter is very broad and varies according to a certain situation. This paper will define the notion of the family, discuss its types, provide a conceptual framework for family assessment, as well as determine the characteristics of successful family interventions and the current issues in family nursing.

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Types of Families

A family is commonly known as a unit consisting of parents and children who are either related by marriage, blood, or adoption. It can also include two or more persons who are interdependent because of the common surrounding, reproduction, and similar beliefs (Lundy & Janes, 2009). Families have the following types.

Nuclear Family

This unit of modern society consists of children, a wife, and a husband who are dependent on each other (Lundy & Janes, 2009). This was a traditional definition of a family since it was related only to parents and children. This type of household is mostly found in urban areas with no external interference from traditional cultures and has strong stability. Decisions are made by both parents.

Extended Family

It is larger than a nuclear family. Besides parents and children, it also includes uncles, aunts, grandparents, and cousins who live together and work towards achieving a common goal (Lundy & Janes, 2009). This type of family is mostly present in rural areas as it is culture-based. The eldest person makes decisions on behalf of the others, and each member is expected to abide by such. Most economic activities are done collectively, and an income is spent by the approval of the eldest member. Such a family follows cultural traditions and values and does not embrace change. Children’s education is a collective responsibility. Thus, no personal attention is given to an individual child. However, it causes challenges in solving personal problems.

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Conceptual Framework for Family Assessment

A conceptual framework is a set of ideas providing a significant explanation that makes it easier for a person to interpret human conduct (Lundy & Janes, 2009). A family assessment can be conducted using the developmental, interactional, and structural-functional frameworks. The latter helps to view a family as a social system that relates to the external environment, such as the health care sector. It observes how the family structure affects its function based on determining the type of family, number of members, as well as racial and ethnic peculiarities (Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2011). The functional framework includes such aspects as roles, stress-coping methods, values, communication, decision-making, and influence.

Characteristics of a Successful Family Intervention

Characteristics of a successful intervention are analyzed based on the following example. Mel is a single parent, living with her three children, Jack being eight years old, Jade being ten, and twelve-year-old Tara. In her childhood, she faced sexual and physical abuse from her mother's partner. Mel also wanted to protect her mom from the domestic violence she encountered, but she was too scared. She lost control of herself, and in her early teens, started abusing drugs and drinking alcohol. Mel had a premature baby at the age of fifteen, but unfortunately, it died. One year after that, she had another baby, and at the age of eighteen, she delivered one more. Her relationship with the fathers of the babies was abusive in nature and had not lasted for long.

A family intervention was used, and complaints of anti-social behavior were filed regularly against Mel’s home where she stayed with her children. She turned into an amphetamine addict who allowed other drug users to come to her house, but she rarely got out of it. Reports showed that all three children failed to attend school. The eldest one, Tara, was at great risk of sexual exploitation since she used to walk late at night with drug users who visited their homes under no supervision. All children were involved in a child protection plan facing a great danger of being taken into care (Casey, 2013).

A dedicated, skillful worker performs a successful family intervention building an honest and strong relationship (Casey, 2013). Elaine was sent to intervene in the family of Mel, but she was faced with hostility from the mother who tried to dismiss her, but the professional was dedicated and used the empathy approach to cool down the woman. It allowed the two to have an in-depth talk.

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Practical help provided to families signals that the worker is here to help and not to cause harm (Casey, 2013). Elaine got personally involved in family issues. For example, she promised the family that their leaking roof would be repaired. She helped in cleaning the house to have a room for repairs. She used this opportunity to discuss family issues with Mel. Elaine also promised the children that she would decorate their rooms if they went to school. This method built trust between the professional and the family and made them share more of their experiences.

A worker should be persistent and assertive, especially about families who are not ready to receive their help (Casey, 2013). The family of Mel was facing the problem of being evicted from child plan protection. Elaine explained the situation to the mother and the consequences of such an action. Mel saw the reason to make her home safer and to provide a friendly environment for her children.

The approach of considering the family as a whole is all about working with every member and not their leader only. Using her intelligence, Elaine interacted with each person in the family, got to know their problems, and helped them to solve them. This approach allows a worker to identify the strengths and weaknesses of every member of the family (Casey, 2013).

A successful family intervention consists of one plan agreed for that particular family by one worker (Casey, 2013). Efforts of different agencies are put together towards achieving a common purpose avoiding conflicting interests. Mel and her children had been involved in programs of various agencies, but Elaine brought a new viewpoint of meeting the family as a whole and challenging other agencies’ hopelessness.

Current Issues in Family Nursing

The main challenges in family nursing affect the five core values in family nursing: courage, social responsibility, caring, reflective thinking, and inclusion (Lundy & Janes, 2009). One of the current issues is that families fail to follow healthy practices through their hygiene habits, smoking, nutrition, and alcohol consumption. The present family should have enough and correct information on health care, which will help them have better health habits that will be passed to the offspring.

The Ad Hoc Committee is called upon to defend health care. It articulates worries about market-driven models conquering areas of health care (Lundy & Janes, 2009). The Committee needs to encourage and promote the public dialogue about the structuring and financing of the health care system that will influence every family member and the whole community.


A family is the most important unit of an economic system. Thus, it should be healthy and live in a good environment to increase production. As discussed above, findings of the conceptual framework help an individual to understand a person’s behavior. Families facing challenges can be assisted through a family intervention and can become better and healthy.

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