The Effective Strategies of Teaching Nursing Students' Therapeutic Communication in the Psychiatric Mental Health Unit

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Pi-Ming Yeh, PhD, RN
School of Nursing and Health Professions, Missouri Western State University, Saint Joseph, MO, USA

Background: Psychiatric mental illness is different from medical and surgical illness. The signs and symptoms of medical and surgical illness are easier to be observed from physical assessment than psychiatric mental illness. A lot of stigmas of mental illness from TV and website media increase the barriers for nursing students to interact with patients with mental illness.

Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to share the experiences of using effective strategies to teach nursing students’ therapeutic communication and increase their learning motivation and interest in the Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Practice.

Strategies: 1. Prepare folder for every student. The folder includes the following material. (1) Clinical schedule and contact information, (2) Weekly and daily activity, (3) Assignments explanations and due date, (4) Clinical learning goals and evaluation form, (5) Therapeutic and non-therapeutic communication techniques, (6) Self-defense mechanism, (7) Mental Health assessment material. 2. Nursing Education activity, 3. Role Play activity, 4. Post conference, 5. Recreation Therapy, 6. Complete Students’ Evaluation and Nursing Staffs’ Evaluation at the end of every group, 7. Weekly self-quiz, 8. Provide positive feedback to nursing staffs and students to establish a good relationship, 9. Weekly reflection, and 10 Analysis of dialogue.

Results: 1. Increasing students’ motivation and interest in this clinical practice. 2. Have good interactions between nursing students, patients, nursing staffs, and faculty. 3. Have very positive feedback from nursing students to nursing staffs in the clinical unit. 4. Have very positive feedback from nursing students to nursing faculty. 5. Have very positive feedback from nursing staffs to nursing students and faculty.

Conclusion: Multiple clinical practice activities increase nursing students’ learning interest. Using role play improves nursing students’ therapeutic communications. Establishing a good relationship with nursing staffs encourages them to be willing to teach nursing students in their units. Structured schedule and clear expectation help nursing students to achieve their learning goals.