Undergraduate nursing students' attitudes toward persons with mental illness : do theory and clinical exposure make a difference / by Nicole Brown.
Brown, Nicole Magdeline
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Statement of Problem: The primary goal of this paper was to explore the attitudes, comfort level and knowledge of undergraduate nursing students toward persons with mental illness. The secondary objective of this paper was to examine the impact of a Psychiatric Nursing Practice Course in the Collaboration for Academic Education in Nursing (CAEN) curriculum of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories on those attitudes, comfort levels, and knowledge. Results: The results demonstrated that student nurses experienced a high level of fear, discomfort and unease providing nursing care to persons with mental illness before taking a Psychiatric Nursing Practice Course. After taking this course, the student nurses’ reported feelings of higher levels of ease, confidence and expressed comfort in their own level of mental health nursing knowledge. Conclusions: The importance of educating undergraduate student nurses in psychiatric issues was evident. Further recommendations and implications for practice are presented and include strategies to address the educational needs of undergraduate student nurses’ as well as ongoing education and training of registered nurses.