oa South African Health Review - The experience of nurses working in an acute mental health care unit in a Johannesburg hospital - case study

Volume 2018 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1025-1715



There is a dearth of information on how nurses working in mental health wards cope with their jobs. This study was conducted in the acute mental health care unit at Helen Joseph Hospital, Johannesburg, a tertiary, training facility linked to the University of the Witwatersrand. The aim was to explore and describe situations that nurses encountered on the job, the impact thereof on these nurses, and the support available to them. The hospital is designated as an acute 72-hour psychiatric assessment, care and treatment unit. The unit has 40 beds, with 10 nurses per shift.

Ten nurses were interviewed, all of whom had been working in the acute care unit for more than a year. The nurses had from three to 30 years of nursing experience, and both male and female nurses were represented in the study. Major themes were identified using thematic analysis, and all ethical and research protocols were complied with.

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