Title

What is good mental health nursing? a survey of Irish nurses

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Lakeman, R 2012, 'What is good mental health nursing? a survey of Irish nurses', Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 225-31.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apnu.2011.10.005

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

The practice, theory, and preparation associated with nursing people with mental health issues has changed in profound ways in recent decades. This has in part been reflected by a shift in nurses identifying as being mental health rather than psychiatric nurses. Context, theory, and values shape what it means to be a mental health nurse. Thirty experienced mental health nurses in Ireland completed a survey on what good mental health nursing is and a definition induced from their responses. Mental health nursing is a professional, client-centered, goal-directed activity based on sound evidence, focused on the growth, development, and recovery of people with complex mental health needs. It involves caring, empathic, insightful, and respectful nurses using interpersonal skills to draw upon and develop the personal resources of individuals and to facilitate change in partnership with the individual and in collaboration with friends, family, and the health care team. This appears to encapsulate the best of what it meant to be a psychiatric nurse, but challenges remain regarding how to reconcile or whether to discard coercive practices incompatible with mental health nursing.