Original Research

Student nurse perceptions of family nursing practices in South Africa: A descriptive survey

Geldine Chironda, Petra Brysiewicz
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 29 | a2321 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v29i0.2321 | © 2024 Geldine Chironda, Petra Brysiewicz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 January 2023 | Published: 28 March 2024

About the author(s)

Geldine Chironda, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu–Natal, Durban, South Africa
Petra Brysiewicz, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu–Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: Family nursing practices (FNPs) are gaining momentum in global literature, but the available research has targeted qualified nursing professionals. There are limited studies exploring this phenomenon in undergraduate student nurses in South Africa.

Aim: The study aimed at exploring the undergraduate student nurse perceptions of FNPs.

Setting: The study was conducted at a selected university in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Methods: A descriptive survey design was used to purposively select undergraduate nursing students. The Family Nursing Practice Scale (FNPS) was used to collect data online. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse quantitative data. Open ended questions were analysed using content analysis.

Results: Out of 154 participants, 77 responded to the questionnaire, translating to a response rate of 50%. Compared with other studies in literature, student nurses rated their overall FNP as being low (M = 3.43, s.d. = 0.99). A further descriptive analysis revealed better FNPs (2.97) for 3rd year compared to 2nd year (3.90) nursing students with significance differences in the means (p < 0.0001). While family conflict, maintaining confidentiality, ill prepared and absent family were challenges experienced in FNP, advantages included obtaining detailed information, ability to plan individualised care and enhanced student nurse-family relationship.

Conclusion: A lower critical practice appraisal and lower perceptions of interaction and reciprocity in the nurse-family relationship were identified. There is need for an inclusive curriculum that promotes and advocates for family nursing within the undergraduate programme.

Contribution: This study highlights the importance of teaching family nursing to undergraduate student nurses.


nursing perceptions; family nursing; family-nursing relationships; student nurses; South Africa

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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