Kendal, Sarah (1999) District Nurses in Mental Health Care: how district nurses feel about providing a nursing service to people with mental health problems. Masters thesis, University of Manchester.

Recent developwents in primary health care in the UK have expanded the role of district nurses as providers of mental health care. Little has been published about the success or otherwise of this change.
A literature review revealed that there is little understanding of how district nurses are currently adapting to changes in their role. This piece of research was designed in response to my initial awareness of some of the difficulties some district nurses were encountering within their expanded role.
The aims of the study were to explore the feelings and experiences of a sample of district nurses concerning the provision of mental health care within the district nursing service; and to gain a better understanding of the issues raised.
A qualitative design was used, employing a focus group method with a small purposive sample of district nurses. They were encouraged to discuss their experience of providing mental health care, and their views on what were the pertinent issues for them in this role. The interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed, and then analysed using a manual technique.
This method obtained information about the district nurses' views on a range of topics within the subject area. Eight main themes emerged from the analysis.
Attempts were made to enhance the validity of the research findings within the framework of a small-scale project. As part of this, a demographic profile of the sample was drawn up from a short questionnaire distributed to all participants. This quantitative data provided a context from which to view the findings of the research.
The implications of the research study are considered. Tentative conclusions are drawn from the findings about what are the pertinent issues for district nurses in relation to
mental health care. It is suggested that they have anxieties about this role, which could possibly be addressed by improvements in the key areas of clinical support, communication and training.

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