Nursing Students' Attitudes and Intention to Work with Mentally Ill Patients Before and After a Planned Intervention
Itzhaki, M.; Meridan, O.; Sagiv-Schifter, T.; Barnoy, S.
Academic Psychiatry the Journal of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training and the Association for Academic Psychiatry 41(3): 337-344
The authors examined changes in attitudes and intention to work with mentally ill patients (treat, specialize, or work in the field) among nursing students after a planned intervention consisting of a mental health course. Data were collected before and after a planned intervention. The nature of the intervention was educational, for third year undergraduate nursing students. The core intervention included lectures on mental illness, encounters with people coping with mental illness, simulations, and a film on coping with mental illness. Behavioral intention to work with mentally ill patients and three dimensions of nursing students' attitudes (perceived functional characteristics, perceived danger, and value diminution of mentally ill patients) were measured before and after the intervention. The post-intervention impact of the intervention on participants' attitudes and behavioral intention was measured. One hundred and one undergraduate third year nursing students studying at four nursing schools in Israel participated in the study. The planned intervention improved the students' attitudes towards mentally ill patients but did not improve their intention of working with them. Post-intervention, older and less religious students had more intention to work with mentally ill patients. Moreover, older and Jewish students held better attitudes towards the functional characteristics of mentally ill patients. Being older was also correlated with the perception of mentally ill patients as less dangerous and male students ascribed to them more value diminution. Students' attitudes towards mentally ill patients and their behavioral intention to work in the psychiatry field should be addressed during the initial training and in continuing education. Teaching methods should include theoretical learning on multicultural mental health practice concurrently with clinical placements.