Nurses' knowledge and skills in providing mental health care to people living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi

Authors


Correspondence:

G. Chorwe-Sungani

Community and Mental Health

Kamuzu College of Nursing

University of Malawi

PO Box 415, Blantyre

Malawi

E-mail: genesischorwe@kcn.unima.mw

Abstract

Accessible summary

  • Nurses provide most of health care in Malawi and they receive mental health lecturers in their initial training.
  • Many nurses lack adequate knowledge and skills to deal with mental health problems of people living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Training in mental health promotes confidence and commitment in nurses to deal with mental health problems in general setting.

Abstract

Nurses are the majority of health-care professionals who frequently come in contact with people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). However, most health workers such as nurses lack competence and confidence in dealing with the mental health problems (MHPs) of their clients in Malawi. The study aimed at exploring nurses' levels of knowledge and skills in providing mental health care to PLWHA. The study used a descriptive quantitative survey design. Ethical approval and permission were granted by relevant authorities to conduct the study. A convenient sample of 109 nurses was used. They gave written consent and completed self-administered questionnaires. Descriptive statistics namely: means, frequencies and percentages were used to analyse data. The findings suggest that nurses who care for PLWHA lack knowledge and skills to deal with MHPs of these people. Many participants (53.2%, n = 58) lacked knowledge and skills to care for PLWHA who have MHPs. Nurses are potentially essential human resource for dealing with MHPs of PLWHA in Malawi. Unfortunately, some nurses lack the necessary knowledge and skills to deal with MHPs. Nurses must be equipped with adequate knowledge and skills so that they are able to deal with MHPs of PLWHA.

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