Leadership, support and acknowledgement of registered nurses work in acute mental health units
Cleary, M and Horsfall, J and O'Hara-Aarons, M and Hunt, GE, Leadership, support and acknowledgement of registered nurses work in acute mental health units, International journal of mental health nursing, 21, (5) pp. 445-52. ISSN 1445-8330 (2012) [Refereed Article]
In acute mental health inpatient units, it is not surprising that culture, peers, immediate management, and sources of support and acknowledgment all contribute to positive nursing outcomes. In this qualitative study, four questions targeting leadership, culture, support, and acknowledgement of work well done were asked of 40 registered nurses (RN) working in acute mental health units. Findings convey a mixed picture indicating variation across units. Three-quarters believe that senior nursing staff actively contribute to a positive working environment. Almost half of the RN nominated peers as the providers of counsel and support when required, and a similar percentage believed that senior nursing staff fulfill these roles. Of interviewees, 33% said their nursing achievements are never, or rarely, acknowledged. For these RN, management, peers, and nurse unit managers are the preferred personnel to provide appropriate positive feedback. Thus, there is a gap between the expectations and hopes that nurses have for senior management approaches and behaviours and the reality of their daily experience. Overall, the responses portray a culture that underpins and enables both subtle interpersonal interactions that might arise out of necessity given the perceived lack of support from non-hands-on RN and administrators.