Motivational interviewing for patients with mood disorders

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EXCELLENT COMMUNICATION is key, no matter where nursing care is provided. From the ICU to the OR to an inpatient mental health unit, nurses must be flexible communicators to promote positive change in their patients.
The primary tool used in mental health nursing is therapeutic communication. Just as medical technology is constantly improving, so is the way that we communicate to promote the best outcomes for our patients. Research indicates that motivational interviewing (MI) is an effective communication style when used to encourage behavior change.1
In this article, we present a project that explored the effect of MI techniques applied by staff to engage patients in recovery in an adult inpatient mental health unit. Our desired outcomes were increased patient attendance at two cognitive behavioral therapy groups and improved quiz scores measuring staff knowledge of MI techniques. After the nursing staff on our unit were taught basic MI skills and encouraged to use the techniques when communicating with patients, both outcome measures improved significantly. Learning MI techniques enabled staff to use an evidence-based communication style to encourage patients to engage in recovery. This article presents the steps taken to achieve our project goals.
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