This book is unique, because no other psychiatric/mental health nursing text has ever brought together 'opposing' or contrasting views of the same issue, and subsequently invited two seperate chapters to be written in order to articulate the different perspectives in the debate. Further, no book has then followed up such a wide and thorough discussion by inviting a third party to offer commentary. The purpose of this book is to present a range of key issues that psychiatric/mental health nurses face. They are practice, policy, research and education related issues. The purpose then is to present the most complete, balanced arguments possible in order to inform, educate, and stimulate psychiatric/mental health nurses.
Furthermore the purpose of the book is to make psychiatric/mental health nurses more aware of the, often, uncertain nature of much of psychiatric/mental health nursing practice and knowledge. Psychiatric/mental health nursing is not characterised by 'black and white', easily delineated issues, and is perhaps characterised by various 'shades of grey'. Indeed, it is often stated as axiomatic that psychiatric/mental health nurses can be described as a 'broad church'. Consequently, the purpose of this book is to help psychiatric/mental health nurses appreciate this broad church, be able to understand the various 'shades of grey', be able to understand that, often, there are differing views, inconclusive arguments and contentious debates and for this to influence their clinical practice.
As the international range of contributors illustrates, these debates (to a greater or lesser extent) are issues and debates that psychiatric/mental health nurses face the world over; these are matters of real international importance and significance. These issues have been touched upon, and to a limited extent, debated at psychiatric/mental health nursing conferences and, to an even lesser extent, within some psychiatric/mental health nursing journals. Thus, they are real issues that many nurses are facing, talking about and trying to resolve.
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Ward, Martin Independent Mental Health Nursing Consultant; Co-ordinator of Mental Health Nursing Courses, University of Malta; Chair of the Expert Panel, HORATIO - Psychiatric Nurses in Europe.