Mental Health Nurses as therapists in a rehabilitation setting: A phenomenological study

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Abstract

Mental Health Nurses have a long tradition of delivering talk-based interventions across a range of clinical settings. Despite this, Mental Health Nurses receive limited recognition of this contribution. This paper presents findings from a study that explored Mental Health Nurses' experience of delivering talk-based therapies in an inpatient rehabilitation setting. This study uses semistructured interviews and a phenomenological approach to explore eight Mental Health Nurses' experience. Themes emerging included that: mental health nursing is a talk-based therapy in its own right, talk-based therapy was part of everyday nursing care on the floor and integrated talk-based therapy enhanced recovery opportunities for consumers. However, a further theme was that there were tensions around providing talk-based therapy conflicted with other roles including unit management and the role of nurses in controlling challenging behaviours. This study found that Mental Health Nurses, in this setting, are offering talk-based therapy to the people they care for. The findings of this study have implications for research: there needs to be a larger study investigating nurses' use of talk-based therapy in inpatient settings. If, as the authors expect that, it is found that mental health nurses are offering these therapies generally in inpatient settings, this has serious implications for postgraduate education in Mental Health Nursing policy in terms of recognition that this is happening and finding ways to support nurses to do this well. There also needs to be further research in the best ways to offer talk-based therapy in these settings.

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