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Village health workers (VHWs) promote health and provide basic health care in areas of the world where basic health knowledge and health professionals are scarce. The 1960s-1980s saw a dramatic increase in the training of VHWs in resource-limited environments. Politics changed, disillusionment set in, and enthusiasm waned. Recently, increased pressures on health resources have led to the resurgence of VHWs. Until the shortage of health professionals is alleviated, the need for VHWs to extend the reach of scientifically verified health care into remote and conflict areas will remain acute. This need provides a compelling reason to pursue research concerning VHWs. Village health workers are usually trained by professional nurses and refer patients to them, so nursing is positioned to lead this important research. The author developed the concept of the VHW using Meleis's Integrated Approach. Meleis's approach was chosen because it is appropriate for undeveloped concepts, emphasizes exploration and discovery, and can begin with clinical practice, taking advantage of the author's experience with VHWs. The resultant concept definition, with antecedents and consequences, provides a foundation other nurse researchers can build upon. Existing research concerning VHWs was reviewed and gaps suitable for future nursing research were identified. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Linda L L Benskin. A concept development of the village health worker. Nursing forum. 2012 Jul-Sep;47(3):173-82

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PMID: 22861654

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