A moral endeavour in a demoralizing context: Psychiatric inpatient care from the perspective of professional caregivers

Detta är en avhandling från Luleå tekniska universitet

Sammanfattning: Patients in psychiatric care experience a need for and expect to develop interpersonal relationships with professional caregivers and to be respected and listened to. Despite demands for care to be person-centred and recovery-oriented, patients experience that psychiatric inpatient care fails to meet their expectations. Nursing research suggest that nurses aspire to engage with and meet the needs of patients, but that the strenuous reality of inpatient care prevents them from doing so. Exploring the content and context of psychiatric inpatient care from the perspective of professional caregivers might provide valuable insights regarding what caregivers do, and more importantly it can aid in understanding why they do what they do. This thesis aimed to explore the content and context of adult psychiatric inpatient care from the perspective of professional caregivers. This was achieved by clarifying the concept of person-centred care in the context of inpatient psychiatry, describing staff members’ reasoning on their choice of action and perceptions of interprofessional collaboration in challenging situations in inpatient psychiatric care settings, and exploring nurses’ experiences of good nursing practice in the specific context of inpatient psychiatry. A systematic review of the literature identified 34 scholarly papers that were analysed using evolutionary concept analysis. Focus group interviews were conducted with 26 professional caregivers and analysed using qualitative content analysis. Individual qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 skilled, relationship-oriented nurses and analysed using an interpretive descriptive approach to qualitative analysis. Reviewing the literature on person-centred care in inpatient psychiatry clarified how person-centred care is expected to result in quality care when interpersonal relationships are used to promote recovery. Professional caregivers’ reasoning on choice of action described different concerns in caregiver-patient interaction resulting in a focus on either meeting patients’ individual needs or solving staff members’ own problems. Describing professional caregivers’ perceptions of interprofessional collaboration suggested that they are being constrained by difficulties in collaborating with each other and a lack of interaction with patients. Exploring nurses’ experiences of good nursing practice revealed how circumstances in the clinical setting affect nurses’ ability to work through relationships. It is argued that these findings describe the workings of two opposing forces in psychiatric inpatient care. The concept of caring as a process forms the basis for discussing the content of care as a moral endeavour in which nurses strive to do good. The concept of demoralizing organizational processes is used to discuss the context of care as demoralizing and allowing for immoral actions. The main conclusions to be drawn are that, from a nursing perspective, nurses in psychiatric inpatient care need to focus on patients’ experiences and needs. For this they need sufficient resources and time to be present and develop relationships with patients. Nurses in psychiatric inpatient care also need to take personal responsibility for their professional practice. Attempts to transform psychiatric care in a person-centred direction must consider all of these aspects and their interrelatedness. Further research on psychiatric inpatient care is needed to understand more about how the content of care relates to the context of care.

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