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Exploring the perceptions of student nurses on patient-centered care provided in psychiatric institutions in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

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The purpose of the study was to explore and describe how student nurses perceive patient-centered care in their allocated units in the uMgungundlovu district. The main objectives of this study were to: • Explore the student nurses ‘perceptions of patient – centered care provided. • Describe the student nurses’ perceptions of patient-centered care provided. • Describe where the working environment in the psychiatric institution is supportive of patient-centered care. • Explore and describe what factors could hinder the provision of patient-centered care according to the student nurses’ perceptions. • Explore and describe what factors could promote the provision of patient-centered care according to the student nurses’ perceptions. The researcher used the qualitative , explorative and descriptive approach. Focus group interviews were used to collect data from fourth year psychiatric nursing students who were doing the four year course diploma programme at two psychiatric institutions in the uMgungundlovu district, where student nurses from other campuses were allocated. The interviews were tape recorded and later transcribed to facilitate easy analysis. Thematic data analysis was used. The findings suggest that inconsistent practices are the biggest hindrances to patient-centered care. Patients and relatives are not often involved in their own care and there is a lack of information given to patients by health providers which contributes to patients’ inability to make decisions and choices for themselves. Their rights in this regard are violated. The lack of resources interferes with the goal of promoting patient centered care. A number of recommendations for psychiatric nursing practice, education, policy making and nursing research based on the data from the study were made. If accepted and implemented, patient-centered care in the psychiatric institutions might improve.


Master of Nursing in Mental Health. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2013.