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Kissing Cousins?: Family Health Nursing in European Communities

Family Health Nursing Conference, Berlin, October 2012
Family Health Nursing Conference, Berlin, October 2012

In October 2012, I presented a keynote at the Family Health Nursing International Conference ( in Berlin, Germany. This conference showcased the two-year European funded project led by Professor Paul Martin, University of the West of Scotland, to revitalize the WHO vision for creating a new kind of “generalist specialist” nursing practice called the Family Health Nurse, focused on coordinating health care with families in their homes.  The new Project Team consists of 8 partners in 7 countries and 6 languages so it was fascinating to learn about the processes they are using to deal with this multi-national diversity including the various developmental stages of professional Nursing in the partner countries of Austria, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and Scotland. This project is well funded, rigorous, and ambitious and I was impressed by the tremendous foundational work that the partners reported at the conference. They are moving into the module development phase very soon. The Final Project Conference is scheduled for Porto, Portugal, September 5-6, 2013.

It was a wonderful opportunity for me to welcome this group of Family Health Nurses to the International Family Nursing Association community ( and the Journal of Family Nursing (  I recommended that family nursing theory be added to the curriculum which would offer the Family Health Nurse a way of thinking and a set of skills for  nursing practice that is offered both to the family system and within the family system.  Toward this end, I asked the participants at the Berlin, Germany conference if European Family Health Nurses might not rightly be be called “kissing cousins”* in our global family nursing community!

Website for Family Health Nursing in European Communities (

*”Kissing cousin” means “A distant relative known well enough to be kissed when greeted”.