Psychiatric nursing techniques

Kevin Gournay

in New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199696758
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743221 | DOI:
Psychiatric nursing techniques

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Psychiatric nursing as an entity has really only evolved since the Second World War. Psychiatric nurses (now often referred to as mental health nurses in the United Kingdom and Australasia) can now be found in most countries of the developed world, although in the developing world, psychiatric nursing is still not defined as a specific discipline. In many countries, psychiatric hospitals are still staffed by untrained ‘Attendants’ who may have some supervision from general trained nurses. Nevertheless, a number of initiatives, notably those of the Geneva Initiative in Psychiatry in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and the World Health Organization in African countries, have provided specific training in psychiatric nursing techniques. The development of psychiatric nursing across the world needs to be seen in the context of changing and evolving patterns of mental health care. De-institutionalization, with the attendant setting up of community mental health teams, has prompted a range of innovations in psychiatric nursing and the psychiatric nurse of today, who in the United States and Europe is likely to be a university graduate, is a very different person to that of the nurse working in the post-Second World War asylums of 40 years ago. In this chapter, we examine the development of psychiatric nursing in some detail and particularly emphasize the role of psychiatric nurses working in the community. Community psychiatric nursing first developed in the United Kingdom nearly 50 years ago and this model has been followed in countries such as Australia and New Zealand. However, this community role has not developed to any great extent in the United States, where the main presence of psychiatric nursing remains in hospital-based care. Furthermore, in the United Kingdom and Australasia, the development of community initiatives has seen the role of the psychiatric nurse blurring with that of other mental health professionals. Chapters such as this cannot really do justice to the whole range of techniques used by psychiatric nurses; neither can it examine in any detail the differences between psychiatric nursing practices across the world. However, a description of psychiatric nursing in six important areas will provide the reader with an appreciation of the range and diversity of psychiatric nursing skills:♦ Inpatient care ♦ Psychosocial interventions in the community ♦ Prescribing and medication management ♦ Cognitive behaviour therapy ♦ Primary care ♦ Psychiatric nursing in the developing world.

Chapter.  4458 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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