Training for transformation: reorientating primary health care nurses for the provision of mental health care in South Africa

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Abstract

Training for transformation: reorientating primary health care nurses for the provision of mental health care in South Africa

Using programme research, this paper reports on the evaluation of a programme designed to orientate primary health care nurses towards the provision of a comprehensive approach to care. In addition to training in psychiatric care, this was deemed necessary in order to facilitate comprehensive integrated primary mental health care in South Africa. Nurse–patient consultations were evaluated on indicators of comprehensive care before and after the programme. Interviews were also conducted with the participants individually and in a group. The results indicate that there are several factors which mediate the provision of comprehensive care by primary health care nurses. These include individual factors as well as contextual factors, inter alia, the structure and organization of the health care system, which historically has been organized to promote biomedical care. Furthermore, biomedicine has dominated training models in South Africa, instilling in nurses a biomedical approach to patient care.

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