NATURE OF MENTAL HEALTH NURSING
Psychiatric nursing is a profession, possessing its unique history, ideology, knowledge and skills. It provides services to individuals whose primary health needs are related to mental, emotional and developmental problems, especially serious disorders and persistent disabilities. It is committed to the maintenance, promotion and restoration of optimal mental health for individuals, families, community groups and society through the use of therapeutic relationships and interventions.
Psychiatric nursing is a specialized area of nursing practice, employing the wide range of explanatory theories of human behavior as its science and purposeful use of self as its art.
Psychiatric nursing is both an art and a science. During actual practice, both art and science of nursing are inextricable. The art of caring is professionally embodied in a therapeutic alliance that develops between the nurse and patient, and is referred to as the nurse-patient relationship. The alliance is a vehicle for the patient to learn and practice skills for the purpose of gaining insight, effecting change, healing mental and emotional wounds and promoting growth.
The science of psychiatric nursing includes understanding and use of principles of nursing on all levels. In addition, there is required commitment to remain current in knowledge and to practice all learned skills and procedures that ensure patient safety well-being.
THE PHILOSOPHICAL BELIEFS OF PSYCHIATRIC NURSING PRACTICE
- Every individual has intrinsic worth and dignity and is worthy of respect.
- Each person functions as a holistic being who acts on, interacts with and reacts to the environment as a whole.
- All behavior of an individual is meaningful. It arises from personal needs and goals and can be understood only from the person’s internal frame of reference and within the context in which it occurs.
- Behavior consists of perceptions, thoughts,feelings and actions.
- Individuals vary in their coping capacities, which depend on genetic endowment, environmental influences, nature and degree of stress, and available resources. All individuals have the potential for both health and illness.
- The goal of nursing care is to promote wellness, maximize integrated functioning and enhance self-actualization.
- An interpersonal relationship can produce change and growth within the individual. It is a vehicle for application of nursing process and the attainment of the goal of nursing care.
- The psychiatric nurse uses knowledge form the psychological and biophysical sciences and theories of personality and human behavior. From these sources, the nurse derives a theoretical framework on which to base the nursing practice.