Journal article

Rethinking nurses' observations: Psychiatric nursing skills and invisibility in an acute inpatient setting

Bridget Elizabeth Hamilton, Elizabeth Manias

SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE | PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD | Published : 2007

Abstract

In sociological, managerial and clinical investigations of psychiatric nursing, the skills of observing patients are compared unfavourably with nurses' ability to listen, to interview and to engage with patients. This paper examines how nurses in an acute psychiatry unit used observation as a significant part of their everyday assessments of patients, through a working shift. We argue that the knowledge generated in observations is essential to the nurses' gaze in this setting. Based on an ethnographic study of the assessment practices of 11 psychiatric nurses and the first author in an Australian hospital setting, we found that nurses' observations of patients were rich in situated assessme..

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