Journal of Professional Nursing

Care or Control:  Questions and Answers for Psychiatric Nursing Practice

Paul Watson, RCpN, Staff Nurse, The Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch

Reference:  Watson, P. (1991).  Care or Control:  Questions and Answers for Psychiatric Nursing Practice Nursing Praxis in New Zealand 6(2) 10-14


An existential phenomenological approach is used to study the experiences of adults hospitalised with acute mental illness which they consider contribute to the stress of, or coping with, mental illness.  The phenomenological research method used is described.  The analysis of data reveals that consumers of acute mental health care view ‘being controlled’ as contributing to the stress of mental illness, and ‘caring’ as contributing to them coping with mental illness.  The implications of these findings for nursing practice and further research are discussed.

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