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Book Reviews   |    
Psychiatric–Mental Health Nursing: An Interpersonal Approach

edited by Jeffrey S. Jones,, Joyce J. Fitzpatrick,, and Vickie L. Rogers; New York, Springer Publishing, 2012, 696 pages, $65

Reviewed by Kathryn Y. Raymond, M.S., A.P.R.N.
Psychiatric Services 2012; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.631006
View Author and Article Information

Ms. Raymond is a psychiatric nurse clinical specialist with the Department of Nursing and Psychiatry, Worcester State Hospital, Worcester, Massachusetts.

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Preparing future psychiatric–mental health nurses is a challenging and complex task. Advances in neuroscience and genetics, global travel and cultural diversity, health care disparities, and legal and ethical issues are just a few topics complicating psychiatric–mental health education. Jones, Fitzpatrick, and Rogers are skilled educators and clinicians who have compiled a superb textbook based on the expertise of multiple contributors from the field.

The text has many strengths. Most important, it emphasizes practice based on theoretical frameworks. This is reflected in the title focusing on the interpersonal approach. Hildegard E. Peplau, the founder of psychiatric–mental health nursing theory and practice, developed the theory of interpersonal relations, which views the interpersonal process between nurse and patient as the essential vehicle for recovery. Joyce Travelbee, a contemporary of Peplau, gives further credence to the importance of the interpersonal process, as explicated in her human-to-human relationship theory. Interpersonal relationship theories are thoughtfully woven throughout the text. The volume also addresses mental health concerns across the lifespan, giving insights into issues specific to children, adolescents, families, and the elderly population. Topics include dealing with abuse and victimization, working with vulnerable populations, and addressing the effects of substance abuse and general medical illness on mental health. The final chapters on cultural, ethical, legal, and health policy issues discuss additional complexities affecting mental health practice today.

The text pays adequate attention to the basics of psychiatric–mental health nursing practice, including psychiatric disorders, treatment modalities, and various roles of the psychiatric–mental health nurse. Another strength of the text is the use of embedded text boxes that elaborate on content within each chapter. These boxes provide opportunities for further learning by focusing on evidence-based practices related to various disorders and treatment modalities, offering clinical vignettes for practicing skills, highlighting summary points, and suggesting Web links for further exploration. The chapters on the therapeutic use of self, therapeutic communication, and boundary management impress upon novice practitioners the intricacies of practice by pointing out the importance of self-awareness and self-reflection in developing and maintaining an effective therapeutic relationship.

The text lacks discussion of the importance of informed consent for treatment, especially when working with patients who have difficulty accepting their psychiatric diagnoses. Helping patients accept their illness and their need for treatment can be challenging. Although the responsibility for informed consent has traditionally been placed on the psychiatrist, the role of the psychiatric–mental health nurse is critical in providing ongoing education about treatment, lifestyle adjustment, and symptom management. Informing patients, involving them in treatment decision making, and using an interpersonal approach to do so are important aspects of nursing practice.

The editors accomplished a difficult task in developing this well-written, comprehensive psychiatric–mental health nursing text. It is an excellent resource for both the novice nursing student and the practitioner.

The reviewer reports no competing interests.

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