Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: The Craft of Caring

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: The Craft of Caring

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: The Craft of Caring

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: The Craft of Caring


Supported by relevant theory, research, policy, and philosophy, this second edition of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: The craft of caring provides a comprehensive overview of the practice of psychiatric and mental health nursing.

The concept of "the craft of caring" dictates that the basis of good nursing practice is a combination of both art and science, encouraging nurses to take a holistic approach to the practice of psychiatric and mental health nursing.

Reflecting current developments in nursing practice and the understanding of mental health disorders, this edition includes twelve additional chapters, placing more emphasis on specific groups such as children and young people, women, older people, asylum seekers, and refugees.

Case studies include patients with anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder as well as victims of sexual abuse, those with an eating disorder, homeless patients, and those with dementia and autism.

The book also examines specialist services such as psychiatric liaison and spiritual care and includes discussion on psychiatric diagnosis and mental health legislation in relation to human rights.

This is an essential text for all psychiatric and mental health nurses at the diploma and degree level, as well as qualified mental health nurses seeking to update their knowledge. It will also be a useful reference for professionals in other disciplines such as social work, medicine, and psychology.


George Bernard Shaw said ‘The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.’ the same is true of the world in which we live. It keeps changing, growing in some ways and shrinking in others. We, the inhabitants of that world, need to understand this, if we are to adapt ourselves to fit our changing circumstances.

There has been a lot of growth and perhaps some significant shrinkage, since we published the first edition of The craft of caring. Economics and its obsession with cost containment continues to dominate most services, and science and its fascination with evidence continues to tantalize us. What we would like to do, we cannot afford; and what we have been doing, apparently successfully, for a long time, we find has no proper ‘evidence base’. What to do?

In the Western world, economics continues, ironically, to dominate the agenda, pushing the demand for more ‘evidence’ and a stronger scientific base for practice. in the rest of the world, we have finally woken up to the fact that everyone experiences the kinds of problems in living called ‘mental illness’ in the West, but we may call them by different names or give them a different significance. Slowly, we are beginning to ask how do people in war-torn or economically ravaged countries cope with such problems. And, where do nurses fit into this picture, if at all.

Although the catalogue of ‘mental disorders’ has grown, in leaps and bounds, since attempts were first made to classify ‘insanity’ a century ago, no ‘new’ forms of mental disorder have been added to the list in the past 15 years. However, all around us, ‘mental health problems’ appear to be on the increase, especially in affluent countries. We appear to have no end of resourcefulness in developing new ways of expressing misery and despair, fear and trembling. Is this to do with the pressures we impose upon ourselves, which we now call stress? Or is this to do with the sheer artificiality of our lives. Who knows? However, the more affluent a society becomes, the more miserable and angst ridden it also becomes. Little wonder so many seek the dream of a simpler life.

In this second edition, we have tried to reflect some of the changing world we see around us, not least within the field of nursing itself. All the original chapters have been revised and updated and we have added around a dozen new chapters, covering important new developments in mental health care or exploring areas of practice that represent a refinement of some of the key concepts in nursing practice.

We have extended our consideration of the naming of psychiatric disorders, trying to help the reader gain a sense of history but also an appreciation of what it might mean to receive a psychiatric diagnosis. in keeping with our core aim – to explore the concept of the craft of caring – we keep the focus on people and persons. How does diagnosis affect people?

The person with a diagnosis of autism has attracted a lot of public attention in the past few years, with a number of books written by people with different experiences of the autistic spectrum. Autism is a classic challenge for mental health nurses, since the people concerned have a very unusual concept of ‘mind’. Mental health nurses could extend themselves greatly by exploring how to respond to people with autism.

We have also developed the section on services, by including liaison psychiatry, therapeutic communities, services for the older person, nurse prescribing and services for women . . .

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