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Registered nurses’ experiences of interaction with patients with mental health challenges in medical wards in Johannesburg

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poggenpoel m., myburgh c.p.h. & morare m.n. (2011) Journal of Nursing Management 19, 950–958

Registered nurses’ experiences of interaction with patients with mental health challenges in medical wards in Johannesburg

Aim  The aims of this research were to explore and describe registered nurses’ experiences of interacting with patients with mental health challenges in the medical wards of a public hospital in Johannesburg.

Background  Nurses are the major providers of hospital care and have become an important resource in the delivery of mental health care to patients with mental health challenges. However, the attitude and ability of many nurses in providing this care have been shown to be poor.

Method  In‐depth phenomenological interviews were conducted with eight female registered nurses working in four medical wards where they interact with patients with mental health challenges.

Results  From the findings it is clear that registered nurses experienced frustration, unhappiness, fear and perception of danger when interacting with patients with mental health challenges in their wards. This could be attributed to a lack of knowledge and skills in mental health.

Conclusion  Registered nurses have negative experiences with interaction with patients with mental health challenges in medical wards because of a lack of knowledge and skills in mental health.

Implications for nursing management  Ward managers can facilitate the psychological empowerment of registered nurses.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Professor, Department of Nursing Science 2: Professor, Department of Educational Psychology 3: Postgraduate Candidate, Department of Nursing Science, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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