Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine

A Comparative Study of Attitudes toward Psychiatry among Nursing Students across Successive Training Years

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine

A Comparative Study of Attitudes toward Psychiatry among Nursing Students across Successive Training Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Yatan Pal. Balhara, Shachi. Mathur

Context: Psychiatry nurses are an integral component of a multidisciplinary mental health-care team. Aim: The current study aimed at understanding the attitude of undergraduate nursing students toward psychiatry. Additionally, the attitudes toward psychiatry have been compared across the training years among these students. Materials and Methods: The study was carried out at a tertiary care nurse-training institute. All the nursing students enrolled with the institute at the time of the study constituted the sample frame. The study questionnaire used in the current study was a 29-item questionnaire that assessed attitudes toward psychiatry. Statistical Analysis: The data were analyzed using SPSS ver 17. Results: Overall, the majority of the nursing students from all four groups had a favorable response to the statements of the Likert scale. Most of the significantly positive responses (as assessed by the Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance of the rank order) were from the third-year and internship students. These findings were supported by the significant correlation between these statements and ranked order of the nurse-training years. Conclusions: The findings of the current study present some interesting insights into the attitude of nursing students toward psychiatry.

Introduction

Psychiatry nurses are an integral component of a multidisciplinary mental health-care team. They play a plethora of roles ranging from that of a case manager to a source of compassionate support in the therapeutic process. [sup][1] Over the years, choice of psychiatry as a profession has been found to be low among undergraduate nursing students. [sup][2],[3] Internationally, the shortage of psychiatry nurses is attributed to negative attitudes of nursing students toward mental illness and the subsequent decision to elect out of psychiatric placements. [sup][4] Such negative attitudes have been shown to have a profound effect on the therapeutic relationships and treatment outcomes. [sup][5]

According to a World Health organization (WHO) report, there are 0.05 psychiatry nurses per 100,000 people in India. [sup][6] This ratio has not changed over the years, which suggests that in spite of an increase in the absolute number of psychiatry nurses, the number of nurses per unit population has not improved in the country. [sup][7] A decline in the number of graduates who choose a career in psychiatry nursing has been reported from developed countries as well. [sup][8],[9]

The attitude of nursing students toward mental illness has been studied in great detail. However, barring a few questions related to choice of future career, these studies have not explored the 'attitude of nursing students toward psychiatry as a discipline'. The current study aimed at understanding the attitude of undergraduate nursing students toward psychiatry. Additionally, the attitudes toward psychiatry have been compared across the training years among these students.

Materials and Methods

The study was carried out at a tertiary care nurse-training institute in India. It is a university-affiliated training program attached to an approximately 1,000 bedded multispecialty hospital. The training in nursing is a bachelor-level program of four years' duration. All the nursing students enrolled with the institute at the time of the study constituted the sample frame. We used a questionnaire-based survey. The nursing students in the different training years were approached after their lectures. They were explained about the study and voluntary nature of the survey. Additionally, they were assured of the confidentiality and anonymity of the information collected during the study. Those consenting to participate in the study were given the study questionnaire.

Study questionnaire

The study questionnaire used in the current study is the one developed by Balon et al. …

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