Top positive review
63 people found this helpful
Review from a nurse tutor's perspective...
on 23 November 2004
This book makes a key contribution to understanding the nature and context of modern mental health nursing in the UK today. It also points to the future direction of nursing practice and mental health care and a possible change of boundaries between nursing and other disciplines. There is a sense of purpose and coherence here which should make it attractive to nursing students, their mentors, tutors, and anyone interested in what "mental health nursing" is about.
The publisher's summary outlines the book's intentions:
"Mental health nursing is an art and a science; concerned with both the therapeutic relationship between nurse and client and the skills required for evidence-based practice. Nurses need to find ways of integrating both these elements to meet service users' demands and policy directives for mental health services...Pedagogy to support readers includes chapter overviews and summary points, questions for reflection, annotated bibliographies, and fascinating case studies and service users' views to illustrate everyday clinical situations."
The book is divided into five parts - Foundations, Interventions, Applications, Core Procedures and Future Directions. A key strength of this text is its integration of the recovery perspective, where the social consequences of becoming diagnosed as having a "mental health problem" or a "mental illness" is not seen as an obstacle to continuing to having a meaningful and fulfilling life.
The editors ground the text in current social policy and legal issues, as this is the real-world context of UK mental health nursing. The discussions of these issues are informative and provocative at times. The chapter on Mental Health Promotion, for example, includes a critical unpacking of how the concepts of "mental health" and "mental illness" in social policy and legislation are sometimes confused and contradictory - reflecting the reality of competing discourses in this field.
The book also focuses on therapeutic approaches which address specific mental health/illness issues, and outlines some of the key processes of intervention available to the mental health nurse. The role of pharmacological interventions is given an easy ride, however, and my own recent discussions with colleagues who are "service users" has reinforced the view that this is still a problematic area - a problem which isn't reflected in the text.
But I would still recommend this book as an excellent attempt to map the territory of current UK mental health nursing and to point to its future. It should help student mental health nurses - and others - to understand the complex context of the philosophies and policies they work within and to become more informed practitioners. It is also a useful toolbox of practical ideas and approaches. All in all, the publishers, editors and authors have taken on a very difficult task and have succeeded admirably in my judgment.
Senior Lecturer (Mental Health)
Division of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities
Institute of Health and Social Care
University College Worcester