The experiences of nurses working within the acute care ward at The Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg.

Blumenau, Romi
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Caring for patients with a mental illness is a taxing task that affects nurses globally. The experiences these nurses encounter can be studied in order to explore how they are affected during these experiences and to understand their support system. A review of literature on the topic indicated that there is a slight gap in the research in that many studies are not conducted in South Africa, most studies are quantitative and do not focus on the support systems of nurses working within mental health. The primary aim of the study was to understand the experiences of nurses working in the mental health care setting. The study was qualitative in nature and had a case study research design. Purposive sampling was used in selecting ten participants i.e. nursing staff in the acute care ward at The Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg. In-depth semi structured interviews with the population were facilitated by utilising an interview guide. The major themes uncovered in the study included the nurses’ life-threatening experiences when encountering violent and aggressive patients, their discomfort with management’s responses and lack of support. The study also found that the nurses rely on family and colleagues for support. The findings of the study allowed for the advancement of knowledge in the fields of mental health and nursing, especially with regard to the experiences of the nurses that work within these settings. Furthermore the study allowed for increased knowledge of the support system of the nurses, and their ways of coping with their job stress. Key words: Mental Health; Psychosis; Acute care; Experiences of Nurses; Psychiatric unit; Support system
A report on a study project presented to The Department of Social Work School Of Human and Community Development Faculty of Humanities University of the Witwatersrand In partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Social Work