A textbook of psychiatric and mental health nursing

A textbook of psychiatric and mental health nursing

374 BOOK REVIEWS A Textbook of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. J. I. Brooking, Thomas (Eds). Churchill Livingstone (1992). Price s27.50. S. ...

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A Textbook of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. J. I. Brooking, Thomas (Eds). Churchill Livingstone (1992). Price s27.50.

S. A. H. Ritter

and B. L.

This text is part of the publishers’ range of books prepared and packaged for Project 2000. Thus, it is intended for Diploma-level education, and this is clearly reflected in the standard of discussion which is literature-based and analytical. The book is arranged in parts, and chapters are grouped into themes related to mental health nursing: issues and developments; knowledge base; principles of practice; interventions for specific groups; and methods of therapy. Despite the number of contributors, there is an excellent consistency of style. A clear overall theme is, perhaps, absent. but all issues are relevant and cogently discussed. The accounts are supported by extensive references for the reader to follow up. The Editors indicate at the outset that there is a lack of clarity in the role of the psychiatric nurse in the United Kingdom. It could be argued that this text has drawn together a range of perspectives in a way which puts the lie to this assertion, since the assembled work clearly indicates the context, dimensions and elements of the process of care-giving in psychiatric nursing. The book will be of great value to nursing students, especially those on Project 2000/Degree courses in mental health nursing. It will also be of benefit to qualified nursing staff, and others involved in the care of the mentally ill. It may also serve to help practitioners and educators in other countries where the research base of nursing is beginning to develop. and where nursing education is moving into Higher Education.

BLAIRCOLLISTER, M.Sc., R.M. N., R.G.N., Manchester, Manchester, U.K.

The Nursing Process in Psychiatry (Second Price E12.50.


Lecturer in Nursing, University q/

Edn). Martin

F. Ward.




In the preface to the first edition of this text, in 1985,the author stated that the book was for practising psychiatric nurses. At that time, works such as this fulfilled a need, since practitioners were grappling with the difficulties associated with incorporating a structured, problem-centred strategy into everyday care. However, the pedestrian and reductionist approach demonstrated in this book has passed its sellby date. The author acknowledges developments which have occurred since the first edition, and incorporated these into this new edition: these reflect technological advances, and changes in organizational factors. However, other conceptual advances are ignored, and this is a major weakness of the book. Nursing process is defined in chapter 2 as a ‘I.. systematic approach incorporating steps .“, and this is carried into the body of the text. The thinking involved in nursing, whilst acknowledged at the outset, is not incorporated into the ensuing description. Psychiatric nursing is thus presented as a mechanistic process, with no indication of the cognitive aspects of professional judgement. The idea of discrete steps is also limiting, since it carries the impression of assessment and evaluation being ‘once-and-for-all’ events. The value of the book is therefore limited. It may be of use to nurses returning to practice after a break in service, or to newcomers to psychiatry from other fields of nursing practice. For experienced practitioners, the approach taken in this book would be counter-productive, and the reductionist view reflected in the detailed cart plans runs counter to the patient-centred philosophy stated in the preface. The importance of professional judgement, intuition and expertise are sacrificed for the sake of simplicity. The inclusion of the book in the publishers’ Project 2000 series is also inappropriate,