Registered nurses’ perceptions regarding factors affecting care of mentally ill patients
The care of mentally ill patients poses a challenge to most nurses. The purpose of the study was to explore and describe the perceptions of registered nurses regarding the factors affecting the care of mentally ill patients. A qualitative, descriptive and exploratory design was used. The population comprised registered nurses working in the clinics at Vhembe district of Limpopo province, South Africa. Systematic random sampling was used to select six health facilities in which focus group interviews were conducted. Data were analysed using Tesch’s open coding method. Findings revealed that there was inadequate skilled health personnel to care for mentally ill patients. Lack of time for giving health education and influence of cultural factors were also identified as challenges. The study recommends that adequate skilled staff be allocated to the health facilities. Furthermore, the findings provided insight into the need for collaboration between health services and traditional healers in order to change community members’ cultural beliefs regarding caring for mentally ill patients.
Keywords: Mentally ill patients, perceptions, registered nurse, health care.