Journal keeping as an educational strategy in teaching psychiatric nursing
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Personal attitudes and self-awareness are key issues of which the psychiatric nursing student must be aware when establishing a therapeutic relationship. Facilitating awareness and growth in these areas are fundamental challenges for the nurse educator. One potential teaching strategy with which to address this issue is journal keeping. This paper describes a study evaluating the impact of journal keeping on student nurses' attitudes toward psychiatric clients and self-awareness in relations with others. Third-year nursing students completing a psychiatric rotation kept journals which were used to reflect on thoughts and feelings engendered by their clinical experience. Two student control groups were used: one completing a psychiatric rotation without keeping journals and the second completing a medical-surgical rotation. All students completed the Opinions About Mental Illness, the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behaviour, and Comfort in Working with Psychiatric Clients Scales prior to and at the end of their clinical experience. Findings support the use of journals to assist students in exploring and changing their attitudes but not necessarily in changing their interpersonal style.
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