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ThesisUniversity of Akureyri>Heilbrigðisvísindasvið>Meistaraprófsritgerðir>

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/1217


Experience of nurses working on psychiatric wards : empowering and disempowering job related factors : a phenomenological study


Over the years, the constant shortage of nurses working on psychiatric wards has been a
problem. It has affected the patients’ treatment, been costly for the organisation and put
increased strain on the nurses still employed. I, as a psychiatric nurse, have been very
interested in gaining insight into how other psychiatric nurses experience their work.
Therefore, the aim of this research was to study how nurses experience their work situations
in psychiatric wards, both empowering and disempowering factors. I carried out the study
according to the Vancouver School of Doing Phenomenology because the goal of this type of
methodology is to understand individuals’ lived experience. I used dialogues as a data
collection method since within the Vancouver School research participants are seen as
dialogue partners and co-researchers, rather than merely interviewees. Seven carefully chosen
co-researchers, all women, with at least two years of psychiatric work experience, participated
in the study, providing a total of fourteen dialogues.
Four main themes were constructed in the study and each is divided into three sub-themes.
The first theme that was constructed was the importance of a good charge nurse and the
leadership style she uses. Her importance was also revealed in how she influences other
nurses both as a person and as a professional. My co-researchers felt that psychiatric nursing
has a unique quality, as was revealed in the second theme, and that working in psychiatric
nursing strengthens them as individuals in general. Good co-operation is important to my coresearchers,
and so they deplore the prejudices that they and their patients encounter from
other health care staff, as well as society at large. The third theme revealed that my coresearchers
felt that psychiatric nursing was in crisis, due to all the changes and cut-backs that
have been taking place in the health care system in general, along with lack of respect for
their own profession that they thought was striking and regrettable. The final theme concerns
the job-related stress that can arise from emotional distress, the feeling of powerlessness and
from the sheer magnitude of the work load.
It seems to me that the psychiatric nurses’ experience can be divided mainly into internal
factors, related to their own profession and themselves as human beings, and external factors
such as lack of financial and human resources that seem to affect them in many ways. My
hope is that these findings will prove helpful when further organisation of psychiatric wards


Verkefnið er opið nemendum og starfsfólki Háskólans á Akureyri


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