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Early home visits provided by public health nurses (PHNs) around the world have been proven to positively impact physical, social, emotional and mental health outcomes of mothers and babies. Most of the research has focused on home visiting programs delivered by public health nurses and lay home visitors to support at risk or targeted mothers. Little research has been conducted to examine universal home visiting programs for mothers who are perceived to be lower-risk. The purpose of this research was to explore how universal and targeted early home visiting programs for mothers and babies were organized, delivered and experienced through the everyday practices of PHNs, mothers, and managers in one city in Atlantic Canada. Feminist post-structuralism was used to collect and analyze data through semi-structured face-to-face interviews with 16 PHNs, 16 mothers and 4 managers. Personal, social and institutional discourses of program delivery were examined using discourse analysis. Four main themes of the study include: i) understanding targeted and universal programming; ii) health outcomes; iii) building relationships; and iv) exploring a new surveillance. This article will discuss the first theme; understanding targeted and universal programming.
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