Mental health nurses' perceptions of good work in an acute setting
Cleary, M and Horsfall, J and O'Hara-Aarons, M and Jackson, D and Hunt, GE, Mental health nurses' perceptions of good work in an acute setting, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 21, (5) pp. 471-9. ISSN 1445-8330 (2012) [Refereed Article]
Frequently, research and conference papers explore difficult or problematic areas of practice that can inadvertently render daily nursing accomplishments invisible and create the perception of a discipline in crisis. In this qualitative study, we explore the views of registered nurses about achievements in the workplace and good nursing work in an acute inpatient mental health setting in Sydney, Australia. Mental health nurses were asked a series of questions about their experiences and understanding of what constitutes good nursing work as well as their sense of optimism about their work. A total of 40 structured face-to-face interviews were completed. Among the responses to questions about achievements and good nursing practice, five broad themes were identified: i) teamwork; (ii) interpersonal interactions with patients; (iii) providing practical and holistic support to patients; (iv) patients' mental health improvements; and (v) optimism-pessimism continuum. Findings contribute to a discussion of good nursing work in acute mental health settings, as well as self-perceptions of optimism and hopefulness, which are important contributors to positive, supportive health-care settings and patient recovery.