Clinical teaching: an evaluation of a problem orientated approach to psychiatric nurse education



In a recent paper by one of the authors (Cormack 1980) the use of the problem orientated approach to nursing, and a proposed framework for assessing nursing needs, were discussed. Subsequently one of the writers (W.R.) utilized the problem orientated approach during the psychiatric nursing experience made available to student nurses undergoing the comprehensive modular training at the Highland College of Nursing and Midwifery, Scotland. This paper presents an evaluation of the problem orientated approach which has now been developing for 2 years.

This paper describes the experience of W.R. in using a problem orientated approach to nursing diagnosis and nursing care prescriptions. It is argued that such an approach, combined with patient-centred rather than classroom based nurse education, is essential to enable psychiatric nurse teachers to teach effectively. Such a patient-centred approach is also necessary to clarify the psychiatric nurses’ role and to shift the emphasis of psychiatric nurse education away from psychomotor skills to interpersonal skills.

While it is recognized that this evaluation does not comply with the scientific criteria of a formal research based project, it is suggested that the experience of the authors and the comments of the many students involved in the exercise accurately reflect the problems encountered and the progress achieved.