Psychiatric nurse's perceptions of their interactions with people who hear voices: A qualitative systematic review and thematic analysis

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Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing


What is known on the subject?: There is no qualitative systematic review of nurses' perceptions of their interactions with people hearing voices. There are some studies exploring the interventions provided by community psychiatric nurses to people hearing voices; these give a sense of what interactions may contain. What the paper adds to the existing knowledge?: Nurses across both community and inpatient mental healthcare settings feel uncertain about how to interact with people hearing voices, sometimes feeling like they can do little to help. Their interactions are affected by the workplace culture, education and training and concern for their own safety. Nurses rely on a therapeutic relationship for all interactions. What are the implications for practice?: This is an under investigated area of mental healthcare. None the less this qualitative systematic review highlights that nurses are unclear about how to interact with service users hearing voices with the resultant outcome that service users in great distress may only be receiving minimal benefit from their interactions with the nurses caring for them. Abstract: Aims and Objectives The aim of this qualitative systematic review and thematic analysis was to identify and synthesize results from studies that explored psychiatric nurses' perceptions of their interactions with service users experiencing auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). Method Qualitative systematic review and thematic analysis. Results Five studies that met the inclusion criteria were identified. Nurses reported that they felt uncertain about what to do for service users hearing voices, struggled to have interactions with voice hearers, but greatly valued the therapeutic relationship with service users. Nurses also reported that they required more education and training on how to interact effectively with people hearing voices. Finally, various workplace challenges were identified as an important factor mediating nurse interaction with service users hearing voices. Discussion Existing evidence shows that nurses lack clarity about how they can interact effectively and in a way that helps service users who are hearing voices. Significant barriers that they must overcome in order to be more certain of their role in caring for people hearing voices are difficult to engage service users and workplace challenges that were not conducive to helpful interactions and conversations. Implications for Practice Nurses caring for people hearing voices require more and better education and training with a view to them becoming more confident and competent when interacting with this service user group. Furthermore, healthy workplace cultures and maintaining a safe environment are necessary for effective caring interactions with people hearing voices.

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