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Nurse-patient interaction in acute adult inpatient mental health units: a review and synthesis of qualitative studies


Cleary, M and Hunt, GE and Horsfall, J and Deacon, M, Nurse-patient interaction in acute adult inpatient mental health units: a review and synthesis of qualitative studies, Issues in mental health nursing, 33, (2) pp. 66-79. ISSN 0161-2840 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.3109/01612840.2011.622428


Mental health nurses work with acutely unwell patients, and the busy setting is characterised by unpredictable events. This paper is a report of a review conducted to identify, analyse and synthesize research in adult acute inpatient mental health units, which focused on nurse-patient interaction. Several electronic databases were searched using relevant keywords to identify studies published from 1999-present. Qualitative studies published in English were included if they specifically investigated nurse-patient interaction in acute inpatient care in adult settings. Eighteen studies were included (23 papers). Findings were grouped into the following six categories: 1) sophisticated communication; 2) subtle discriminations; 3) managing security parameters; 4) ordinary communication; 5) reliance on colleagues; and 6) personal characteristics. These studies of acute inpatient mental health units reveal that nurse communication involves interpersonal approaches and modalities that exemplify highly developed communication and personal skills designed specifically for this challenging setting. Further quality research should focus on the conditions that enable the development of therapeutic interactional skills and the relationship of these skills to the nuanced context in which they are practiced.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Nursing
Research Field:Mental health nursing
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Mental health services
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
ID Code:107880
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-03-30
Last Modified:2018-01-22

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