Perceptions of the psychiatric nurse’s role: a pilot study
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Perceptions of the psychiatric nurse’s role: a pilot study

Louise Walker Research Associates, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Sue Jackson Research Associates, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Phil Barker Professor of Psychiatric Nursing Practice, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

In this article, the authors report on a face-to-face survey of members of the public regarding the role of psychiatric nurses. One open-ended question was asked of 100 pedestrians in a city centre. The resulting data were analysed and then validated by a panel of senior psychiatric nurses. The researchers found a generally positive perception of the role, certainly in relation to the esteem in which nurses continue to be held, but detected that the stigma of mental illness still surrounds those who have to come in contact with mental health professionals. The researchers believe mental health nurses must be better prepared to articulate their contribution to mental health care to counteract public fear, and that the media can play an important role in this process.

Nursing Standard. 12, 16, 35-38. doi: 10.7748/ns1998.01.12.16.35.c2490