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Exploring the experience of Canadian registered psychiatric nurses: a phenomenological study



Accessible summary

  • This study was undertaken to explore the experience of registered psychiatric nurses in the province of Manitoba, Canada.
  • Results of this study revealed six predominant themes including how psychiatric nursing is perceived by the public and allied professionals, the aggressive behaviour and management of patients, the involvement of family members regarding the care of their loved ones, the relationship between physicians and psychiatric nurses, the sense of responsibility and worry associated with psychiatric nursing, and the gradual shift in educational standards and movement towards traditional medical intervention.
  • Results from this study can benefit patients, psychiatric nurses, and psychiatric nurse educators.


This paper describes a phenomenological study that was conducted in 2012 and investigated the experiences of registered psychiatric nurses working in the province of Manitoba. Ten registered psychiatric nurses participated in semistructured, audio-recorded interviews, during which they described their experiences, yielding written protocols that were thematically analysed. Results from this study revealed six predominant themes that included (1) perception of psychiatric nursing; (2) patient aggression; (3) patient family involvement; (4) nurse–doctor relationship; (5) responsibility and worry; and (6) shift in practice and educational standards. The results of this study can assist in better understanding registered psychiatric nursing practice, inform educational programmes, and spawn future research.