Exploring Non-Psychiatric Nurse Attitudes, Knowledge Base and Comfort Level in Caring for Patients with Mental Illness
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractBackground: Mental health disorders can be perceived as threatening and uncomfortable to non-psychiatric nurses who may have limited education and/or specialized training on mental health conditions. Due to lack of specialized psychiatric knowledge and training, non-psychiatric nurses develop attitudes that are based on misperceptions such as the fear that mental health patients are aggressive and violent. These perceptions contribute to discriminatory acts by the nurses and heightened stigma. This fear also induces a sense of caution and guard (which in turn interferes with their ability to be effective nurses) due to a perceived threat on their own safety. Objective: Explore nurse attitudes, knowledge base and comfort level of non-psychiatric nurses caring for the patient with mental illness through the use of a pre-existing Likert scale (MICAv4) and a newly developed semi-structured survey (Demographic & Knowledge Base Questionnaire [DKBQ] administered through an online Qualtrics survey. Design: Descriptive quality improvement design. Setting: Medical/Surgical unit in a 212-bed not-for-profit community hospital in the East Valley of the Phoenix Arizona metropolitan area. Participants: Non-psychiatric nurses on the inpatient medical/surgical unit whom care for psychiatric patients and are employed by the community hospital, in Arizona. Results: 60% of the nurses interviewed feel comfortable caring for patients with a psychiatric disorder, 57% feel they have adequate knowledge of psychiatric medications, and 67% feel they have adequate knowledge of psychiatric disorders. In regards to attitudes, 71.4% of the nurses interviewed overall disagree that people with a severe mental illness can never recover enough to have a good quality of life, 62% of participants disagree the public does not need to be protected from people with mental illness, and more than half agree they feel comfortable talking to a person with a mental illness the same as talking to a person with a physical illness. Conclusion: Overall, the nurse participants indicated feeling a baseline comfort in caring for patients with a mental illness. More than half feel they have adequate knowledge of psychiatric disorders and psychiatric medications. The participants, attitudes per the MICAv4 scale indicated the participants have a reduced stigmatic attitude in caring for psychiatric patients.
Degree ProgramGraduate College