Journal article

The power of routine and special observations: producing civility in a public acute psychiatric unit

Bridget Hamilton, Elizabeth Manias

NURSING INQUIRY | WILEY | Published : 2008


This study directly addresses controlling aspects of psychiatric nursing practice, which are currently marginalized in practice and research. We first consider the discursive tensions surrounding the mandated goal of social control in public acute psychiatric units, particularly referring to those units located within medical hospitals. We attest to the enduring social control mandate in psychiatric nursing and explore ways in which it is enacted. Specific nursing practices of 'doing the obs' while scanning the ward and 'special observations' are investigated as important activities of social control, based on findings from an ethnographic study in one acute psychiatric unit in Australia. Th..

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