Nursing students’ attitudes toward psychiatric nursing and psychiatric patients: a comparative study

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Psychiatric nursing and working with mentally ill patients represent unpopular career preference with respect to other areas of nursing. This study aimed to identify nursing students’ attitudes toward psychiatric nursing and psychiatric patients in a descriptive–comparative design.


The study included all first grade students who did not study psychiatric nursing course in Faculty of Nursing in El-Minia and Assiut Universities and all fourth grade students from El-Minia University and all second grade students from Assiut University who just finished their psychiatric nursing course. A self-report scale to measure nursing students’ attitudes toward mental health nursing and another one to measure attitude scale for mental illness were used.


Female participants represented 88.9% of the sample. Students who studied psychiatric nursing course reported significantly more positive attitude toward preparedness for mental health field and anxiety surrounding mental illness components. There was a slight decline in students’ attitudes toward valuable contribution of psychiatric nursing services after studying psychiatric nursing course. Significantly more positive attitudes of students toward benevolence and stigmatization subscales were reported, whereas there was a decline in students’ attitude toward restrictiveness subscale after studying psychiatric nursing course.


Providing more information and clinical training in the field of psychiatric nursing and providing variety of community mental health services are essential to improve attitude about psychiatric nursing career and psychiatric patients.

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