Patients with mental illness: general nurses’ attitudes and expectations
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Patients with mental illness: general nurses’ attitudes and expectations

Frances Brinn , Clinical Psychology, Whitchurch Hospital, Cardiff

Aim To measure the emotional reactions and expectations of 64 nurses in a general hospital to vignettes describing patients with unstable diabetes and a co-morbid psychiatric diagnosis.

Method A small scale questionnaire survey was used in a within-groups design.

Results Findings suggest that the nurses in the sample were fearful of people with a mental health problem. They were wary of possible unpredictable behaviour. Qualified staff generally felt better equipped to cope with such patients, depending on their psychiatric experience.

Conclusion General/adult nurses who have had more exposure to patients with mental health problems during their initial training are more likely to feel adequately prepared for managing people with mental health problems.

Nursing Standard. 14, 27,32-36. doi: 10.7748/ns2000.03.14.27.32.c2792

Published in print: 22 March 2000