Nurses’ Perceptions of Psychosocial Care and Barriers to Its Provision: A Qualitative Study

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Abstract

Background:

Psychosocial care is the culturally sensitive provision of psychological, social, and spiritual care through therapeutic communication. Current evidence suggests that effective psychosocial care improves patients’ health outcomes and quality of life.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to explore nurses’ perceptions and experiences in providing psychosocial care to patients and to identify the related barriers and challenges.

Methods:

An exploratory qualitative design using semistructured, individual, face-to-face interviews was adopted. A purposive sample of 18 registered nurses was recruited from the geriatric, medical, and surgical wards in an acute general hospital in Singapore. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed thematically.

Results:

Four major themes emerged: patient-centered care, communication, interprofessional care, and barriers to psychosocial care. Nurses perceived that psychosocial care consists of providing holistic care, spiritual care, support to the patient and family members, and showing empathy. Furthermore, psychosocial care is composed of communication between nurses and the patient and family members as well as communication among nurses. In addition, psychosocial care involves collaboration between healthcare professionals as well as multidisciplinary care. Barriers that are perceived by nurses include lack of time, language barriers, being task-oriented, excessive documentation, lack of family involvement, and fear of complaints.

Conclusions:

This study highlighted the perceptions of nurses regarding psychosocial care and the challenges in providing this care. Future studies are needed to explore ways to overcome these barriers and to enhance nurses’ competencies in providing psychosocial care. The findings indicate a need to plan future interventions to provide nurses with both skill development and support to improve their ability to integrate psychosocial care, which will improve patient outcomes.

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