Policy proposals for a new welfare: the development of the family and community nurse in Italy as the key to promote social capital and social innovation
Aim To discuss the development of the family and community health nurse (FCHN) in Italy by focusing on three levels: organisational, political and theoretical. Background The role of the FCHN in Italy is not yet embedded evenly across the Italian National Health System (INHS) and does not have formal recognition, either contractually or organisationally. Although complementary post-basic training has been available for over a decade, the FCHN’s role in Italy currently exists only in pilot form. In some regions, the FCHN has operated for longer, thanks to which a clearer understanding of the functions and responsibilities required by the FCHN has emerged. Proposals for professional and social policies have emerged, as the FCHN’s role may be an answer to health problems and a contributor to the construction of social capital, capable of influencing both individual and collective well-being. Methods A mixed method investigation via a parallel concurrent design to identify the organisational models for the FCHN was conducted across Italy. In this paper, two profiles are discussed – family and community health nursing and FCHN – but each with its different connotations. The former refers to the practice of nursing and the latter to the nursing practitioners working with family and the community. Conclusion We describe the expected future outcomes for FCHNs as elements of social innovation for the development of a new welfare system.