The Concept of Hope in Nursing 2: Hope and Mental Health Nursing

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This article is the second in a series of six that explores the nature of hope, reviews the existing theoretical and empirical work in several discrete areas of nursing, and provides case studies to illustrate the role that hope plays in clinical situations. In this article we focus on hope within the formal area of psychiatric/mental health nursing. The article points out that there is a limited empirical literature covering several aspects and issues of hope, hopelessness and hope inspiration within the domain of psychiatry. However, despite these studies many questions still remain unanswered. The bulk of this empirical literature focuses on hopelessness, and in the main hopelessness associated with suicide/depression. As a result of these investigations, a range of interventions have been identified for inspiring hope in different client groups with mental health problems, and a summary of these is given. Importantly, however, the basic social process of hope inspiration for each of these client groups is fundamentally the same, in that the process remains subtle, unobtrusive and associated with the therapy/relationship. We conclude by indicating key areas/questions for future research, and raise key questions regarding future policy/education issues.


To acquire a personal use copy of this work, contact John Cutcliffe at john.cutcliffe@wright.edu.



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