Nursing: Nursing Management of Patients with Mental Health Conditions

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About the Course

Patients with a current psychiatric illness, or a history of one, may present for treatment of a medical condition. A patient may also require hospitalization because of possible consequences secondary to exacerbation of a psychiatric illness.  This course provides a review of mental health and psychiatric conditions that nurses working in any general practice or non-psychiatric specialty practice area may encounter. It provides information on common mental health conditions and possible nursing interventions that can help patients cope with their unique situations. The course discusses the importance of establishing and maintaining effective interpersonal communication with patients and the challenges of recognizing and assessing patients with mental health conditions. Specific mental health conditions addressed include anxiety, depressive and bipolar disorders, suicidal ideation, psychosis, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, potentially aggressive behavior, and confusion.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, the learner will be able to:
  • Discuss the components of the communication process and interpersonal skills used to enhance the quality of nursing care for patients with mental health issues.
  • Discuss strategies used to identify and assess patients with psychiatric and mental health issues.
  • Describe how anxiety presents in patients and the appropriate nursing interventions for patients with anxiety.
  • Describe nursing management of patients with depressive and bipolar disorders.
  • Discuss the assessment of and nursing interventions for patients with suicidal ideation.
  • Discuss signs and symptoms of psychosis and appropriate nursing interventions for patients with this condition.
  • Discuss nursing interventions that may be useful in caring for patients with substance use disorders.
  • Recognize the causes, symptoms, and evidence-based treatment for trauma-related disorders.
  • Discuss the manifestations of and appropriate interventions for patients with various eating disorders.
  • Discuss the signs and symptoms of confusion in patients and appropriate nursing interventions.
  • Identify patients who are potentially aggressive and nursing interventions that can be used to address and prevent violence.

This course is an extract of, and should not be taken with the course Caring for Patients with Mental Health Issues, 2nd Edition.

About the Authors:

Karen S. Ward, PhD, MSN, RN, COI, received her BSN and MSN degrees in psychiatric-mental health nursing from Vanderbilt University and a PhD in developmental psychology from Cornell University. She is a professor at the Middle Tennessee State University, School of Nursing, where she teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Dr. Ward’s work has been published in journals including Nurse Educator, Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Journal of Emotional Abuse, and Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America. She has presented her work at local, regional, and international conferences. Her research interests include child and adolescent maltreatment, mental health, and wellness issues (stress and depression), leadership variables, and survivorship.

Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, received an MSN in holistic nursing from Tennessee State University, School of Nursing and a PhD in health psychology, with a focus in psychoneuroimmunology, from Walden University. She has expertise in public health, psychiatric nursing, wellness, and disease prevention. In addition to being a researcher, Dr. Wilson has been editor of the International Journal of Childbirth Education since 2011 and has more than 100 publications with specialties in holistic nursing, psychoneuroimmunology, and grief counseling.  Dr. Wilson has a private practice as a holistic nurse and is an internationally known speaker on stress and self-care.  She was named the 2017-2018 American Holistic Nurse of the Year. She is on faculty at both Austin Peay State University School of Nursing and Walden University.

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