• acute psychiatric care;
  • attitudes;
  • ethical dilemmas;
  • mania;
  • nursing staff;
  • nursing strategies;
  • suffering

Nursing staffs' perceptions of persons suffering from mania in acute psychiatric care

Aim. The aim of this study was to illuminate nursing staff perceptions of persons suffering from mania and how this influences the provision of nursing care.

Background. Nursing staffs' experiential knowledge in relation to their work with persons with manic illness is explored, guided by a theoretical framework of mania as suffering.

Methods. The study was carried out with a participatory inquiry design, and focus group interviews were employed for the collection of data. The data analysis followed the qualitative content analysis procedure.

Findings. Four main themes emerged from the analysis: staff views of patients' self-image, needs and desires, a united stance, nursing strategies, and ethical dilemmas. Nursing staff discern the `disease suffering' based on what is typical in the patient's behaviour, apprehend the existential suffering through the uniqueness of the patient's situation, and finally, realize the various ways in which patients can experience suffering as a consequence of nursing care and treatment. The findings further revealed that one of the greatest challenges of working with persons suffering from mania is that they are often admitted against their will and do not perceive themselves as being ill or in need of help.

Conclusions. In conclusion, the findings from this study are theoretically transferable to similar contexts. We suggest that the themes identified above could be used by nursing staff to reflect on their perceptions of and encounters with persons suffering from mania. Furthermore, value-based psychiatric nursing practice, focusing on patients' experiential knowledge, is needed in order to assess the influence of suffering on a person's life and their experiences of treatment and care.