Mental Health Work in the Community: Theory and Practice in Social Work and Community Psychiatric Nursing

Mental Health Work in the Community: Theory and Practice in Social Work and Community Psychiatric Nursing

Mental Health Work in the Community: Theory and Practice in Social Work and Community Psychiatric Nursing

Mental Health Work in the Community: Theory and Practice in Social Work and Community Psychiatric Nursing

Synopsis

A presentation of a comparative analysis of the work of mental health social workers and community psychiatric nurses, an issue of importance because of "community care" and also important as much of their work territory overlaps. The findings are more favourable to social workers.

Excerpt

This book presents a comparative analysis of the work of mental health social workers and community psychiatric nurses. Both professions lay claim, to a considerable degree, to the same ‘territory’, and, in view of developments in community care, the examination of the relative merits of the claims of these professions to this territory, is of considerable importance. The findings, which are ultimately favourable to social workers, are bound to be controversial, since occupations do not generally willingly leave territory to which they have previously laid claim. This, however, cannot be helped, and I have attempted to be scrupulously fair by working with meanings common to both professions.

Had I realized the size of the task I had set myself at the outset, I might have hesitated to embark on this project. It involved not only the comparison of two professions, but also both the detailed examination of the theoretical foundations of both professions and the empirically researched examination of practice. However, the findings potentially have far reaching implications for policy and practice in the mental health field, and they address issues which are likely to remain significant for the foreseeable future. Additionally, however, this book presents a further contribution to a debate in which I have previously been involved: the relationship between theory and practice (and particularly the place of the social sciences) in social work.

I have been helped by a number of people in preparation of this book. My colleagues George Giarchi and Pamela Abbott have discussed various aspects with me. Terry Mangles has been free with his time in giving me both statistical and computing advice. Ted White of Manchester University’s Department of Nursing helpfully discussed various aspects of community psychiatric nursing. Chapman-Hall were kind enough to send me an advanced copy of Charles Brooker’s Community Psychiatric Nursing: A Research Perspective. I am most grateful of all to Sheryl Lester and her social work team, and Chris Bulley and his CPN team for their involvement in this project. They inevitably gave an enormous amount of time to this project,

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