Jump to navigation
Experiences of medical-surgical nurses in caring for patients affected by mental illness
Brandon University, Faculty of Health Studies
vi, 87 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-78).
"In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Psychiatric Nursing."
More than half of hospital beds in Canada are considered general ward or medical-surgical beds. When individuals affected by mental illness are admitted to hospital for physical health reasons, their average length of stay is twice as long as individuals without a mental comorbidity. Medical-surgical nurses play an important role in destigmatizing mental illness by promoting and providing competent, holistic, and integrated care to all patients they encounter. However, very little research has been conducted on this topic, and existing literature suggests that health-care providers working in non-mental health settings are not equipped with the knowledge and skills to safely care for these complex patients. The aim of this study was two-fold: to explore the experience of medical-surgical nurses in caring for mentally ill patients and to identify shared experiences among those nurses. Hermeneutic phenomenology was used to answer the research question: What is the lived experience of medical-surgical nurses in caring for patients with a mental health diagnosis? Interviews were conducted with 10 participants. Five themes emerged during data analysis: “hope in recovery”, “caring in complexity”, “the nurse-client relationship”, “moral distress”, and “change is needed”. Participants’ experiences were interpreted and discussed within the context of current literature. Study findings contributed to our understanding of the contextual factors that influence the experience of caring for patients with mental illness in medical-surgical settings and revealed barriers to achieving integrated, patient-centred, holistic care. Recommendations and implications for nursing practice and policy are provided. Author-supplied keywords: Medical-surgical nurses; mental illness; medical nursing; surgical nursing
Surgical nursing--CanadaNurses--Canada--AttitudesNurses--Canada--Job stressNurse and patient--CanadaMentally ill--Medical care--Canada
Brandon UniversityFaculty of Health Studies