Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
MELO, Marcia Regina Antonietto da Costa; FAVERO, Neide; EVORA, Yolanda Dora Martinez and NAKAO, Janete Rodrigues da Silva. The Brazilian universal public health system¾Sistema Único de Saúde¾and the delivery of nursing services in a Brazilian hospital. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.6, n.6, pp.408-414. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891999001100006.
There are few studies on the delivery of nursing services in hospitals participating in the Brazilian universal public health system (Sistema Único de Saúde), which was put in place in 1988. This study, which examined possible changes in the delivery of these services since universal health care was implemented, was based on interviews carried out between July and September 1995 with 31 nurses working at a teaching hospital in the city of Ribeirão Preto, in the state of São Paulo. The nurses had begun working at the hospital between May 1980 and May 1987. Thematic analysis was used to assess their answers. According to the nurses, patients treated after the universal system was implemented have had more complex medical needs and a higher socioeconomic status. In addition, nurses reported an increase in the complexity of patient demands and in the variety of medical specialties offered by the hospital, as well as a decrease in the length of inpatient stays. Forty-six percent of the interviewees reported a change in the work done by nursing staff (for example, nurses have less time available for each patient). Not all of the problems the nurses mentioned are related to the public health system (understaffing is one example). It is essential that nurses examine national health policy and that they engage in the (re)construction of the practice of health care delivery. Nurses ought to understand the reality of their institutions and carry out a management process geared towards the expectations of patients and of health care workers.