The development of community psychiatric nursing: a professional project?


  • Paul Godin RMN CPN Cert PGCEA BA MSc

    1. Lecturer in Applied Sociology, City University, St Bartholomew School of Nursing, Philpot Street, Whitechapel, London E1 2EA, England
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In this paper the author argues that the development of community psychiatric nursing can be understood as a professional project However, the case of community psychiatric nursing cannot be adequately understood from mainstream literature on the subject of professionalization within the health care division of labour The inadequacy of such literature is that it either concentrates upon the pre-eminent case of medicine or regards nursing's professionalization as being unitary The author posits that the professional projects of general nursing and community psychiatric nursing have different and even opposing interests To contextualize community psychiatric nurses'(CPNs') professional project the author examines the history of mental nursing, from which community psychiatric nursing evolved, the development of community mental health care, which allowed for the inception of community psychiatric nursing, CPNs'relationships with both psychiatrists, whose patronage assisted CPNs'initial growth as para-professionals, and general practitioners, who later assisted a more functionally autonomous role for CPNs in primary care, and social policy towards community care that enhanced CPNs'growth In conclusion the author argues that recent government-led changes in the management of community mental health care now impel CPNs to change the direction of their strategy for occupational survival and advancement