This work is dedicated to our 28 interviewees, on whose expertise it is based, and to
all those engaged in caring for the acutely mentally ill
This work was in part supported by a grant from the Square Smile Appeal of the Lord
Mayor of the City of London, 2001-02, Sir Michael Oliver
The resources of City University London, and East London Foundation NHS Trust
also supported the work
Managers and staff of East London, Camden and Islington , and Central and North
West London NHS Foundation Trusts, welcomed our research, helped identify their
most skilled practitioners, and made their time available.
Illustrations: Geoff Brennan
Copy editing: Richard Humm
You, talking to me?!
As often, when faced with new ideas, novel theories or revolutionary concepts, the first thought is, “Surely this has been done before – and if not, why not?”
Many of the work practices evolved by the 28 expert nurses in this study seem obvious, but it is clear that the reality on many – or most – psychiatric wards is one of non-communication and mutual incomprehension.
This research, when translated into a ‘guide’ or ‘handbook’ for nurses, should provide a very useful if not essential part of their education.
The way that expert nurses dealt with - or rather related with - patients seemed to lead to better outcomes for the patients and for the nurses. So, if we could promote the nursing practices described in this work it is likely to lead to improved outcomes for service users and much happier staff.
Strikingly, many of the nurses did not describe just using language but spoke of a range of different mediums, including non-verbal communication and, most excitingly, other more creative methods.
Students and staff should not only read this but be actively encouraged to feedback (anonymously if they prefer) how they get on putting these principles into practice but also to identify the factors that prevent or make it difficult for...