Enhancing Staff Nurses' Interpersonal Skills: Theory to Practice

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NURSES WORKING WITH psychiatric-mental health patients require a repertoire of skills to assess patient behavior and needs, design creative interventions, and evaluate care. The work of interpersonal psychiatric nursing exists within the therapeutic relationship between nurse and patient. A coordinated series of classes and clinical supervision sessions that present an approach to psychiatric nursing care using three major themes of Peplau's model: learning acquisition, language competencies, and anxiety reduction are described.

Clinical supervision was strongly encouraged for participants and one clinical supervisor decided to model supervisory sessions using elements of Peplau's theory. Utilizing selected aspects of Peplau's interventional techniques during clinical supervision and reflecting on the experience provided an opportunity to validate and integrate new knowledge and skills. Nurses who sought supervision thus had the advantage of experimental learning through participation in clinical supervision.

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