Effect of a psychiatric diagnosis on nursing care for nonpsychiatric problems



This study was designed to test how patients' psychiatric diagnoses would affect nursing care for medical problems. Sixty nurses were randomly assigned to three groups in this posttest-only experiment. Control group nurses read a vignette describing a man admitted with a possible myocardial infarction (MI). Nonpsychotic group nurses also read that the person was on alprazolam. Psychotic group nurses read that the person was on haloperidol, benztropine, lorazepam, trazadone, fluoxetine, and lithium. Psychotic group nurses estimated a decreased probability that the patient was having an MI and were less likely to respond to additional possible MI symptoms. An increased awareness of the potential to stereotype medical patients with a history of psychosis might assist nurses when providing care. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 26: 225–232, 2003