It will deal with the importance of applying theories in clinical settings and the effects this can have on quality of care. Barriers to using theory in practise will be explored, as will the roles that practitioners, managers, theorists and educators can play in encouraging the development and use of theory-rooted practise. The use of 'planned change' strategies will also be discussed. It is a truism that theories are not being used in a systematic way to guide the delivery of client care.
Many writers also acknowledge that the link between theories and practise is necessary for nursing's claim to be the provider of professional care. For instance, Chalmers (1989) argues that, without a strong orientation towards the work of theorists and the work of practitioners, the basic requirements for a profession are missing. Botha (49-55) supports this argument and goes further by stating that only if we are able to prove that this link exists will we be 'legitimate contenders' for professional status.
Previously, nursing practise has been inclined by traditional knowledge passed down through generations by unconfirmed report and in published textbooks. Without methodical confirmation for practise, nurses have done the best they could in the patient's importance. Much of the nursing care offered has been rooted on own knowledge and the knowledges of nurses and others who have left before. Even today, much of mental health nursing practise is still grounded in tradition, disorganised experiment and mistake, and authority, rather than being rooted on sound experimental studies (Wilson, 42-56). Certainly, some mental health nursing knowledge approaches from "Old Wives' Tales," reflecting the viewpoints of women from former days. This "received wisdom" is often taken for approved and passively applied (Wilson). Though much of it is dubious, some of the intelligent sayings and viewpoints passed down through the ages continue to add to many mental health nursing interferences.
Though evidence-rooted mental health care is comparatively new for mental health nursing (Stuart, 103-114), the idea of using methodical evidence in nursing practise dates back to the times of Florence Nightingale (1859/1969). Though not herself a mental health nurse, Florence Nightingale, the originator of the modern nursing occupation, founded the use of statistics for evidence-rooted practise and used statistics to influence health care reform (Nightingale). In her before time writings, Nightingale sketched the steps for measuring patient problems, developing theories, collecting data, and investigating it before designing nursing interventions (Nightingale). Like Nightingale, Hildegard Peplau (1952,1988) supposed that a scientific advance was crucial to mental health nursing practise. Today, the growth of facts through clinical research is a high precedence in mental health nursing (Haber, 56-62).
Mental health nurses can have a really substantial impact on the way their patients live, and love, and learn.
This is a quote from our major feature on mental health nursing. It is spoken by Scott Gordon, Clinical Nurse Consultant at Middlesex Health Service. It is a very profound