How professional nurses in a general hospital setting perceive mentally ill patients

06 Oct 2017

In recognition of the enormous challenges in South Africa confronting the nursing of the mentally ill, this project was conducted in a public hospital in Gauteng. The purpose of the research was to describe professional nurses' perceptions of nursing mentally ill people in a general hospital setting and was carried out amongst a sample size of 124 professional nursing staff. Data was collected using a survey questionnaire. The study looked at two different types of perceptions that were guided by categories of conceptual framework proposed by Mavundla in 2000, namely perception of self and perception of patients. This particular study found that the majority of professional nurses had a predominantly positive perception of self in caring for or nursing the mentally ill in a general hospital setting, although a significant number of them had a negative and stereotyped perception of the patients. Lack of knowledge, skill and experience in psychiatry among the nursing staff was identified as affecting the nursing care process of the mentally ill.