Oral history makes a critical contribution in articulating the perspectives of people often overlooked in histories written from the standpoint of dominating class, gender, ethnic or professional groups. Using three interrelated approaches - life stories, oral history, and narrative analysis - this paper analyzes family responses to psychiatric care and mental illness in oral history interviews with family members who experienced mental illness themselves or within their family between 1930 and 1975. Interviews with three family members in Alberta, Canada are the primary focus. These stories provide an important avenue to understand the meaning and transformations of mental health-care from the point of view of families. Family members' stories reveal contradictory responses to the dominant cultural discourse. Using a performative framework of interpretation, the narratives reveal a complex interplay between medical, social and cultural conceptions of mental illness, deepening our understanding of its meaning. The history of mental health-care can be substantially enriched by the analysis of family members' stories, not only revealing the constructed nature of mental illness, but also illustrating the family as a mediating context in which the meaning of mental illness is negotiated.
This article presents intensive psychiatric nurses' work and nursing care. The aim of the study was to describe expressions of cultural knowing in nursing care in psychiatric intensive care units (PICU). Spradley's ethnographic methodology was applied. Six themes emerged as frames for nursing care in psychiatric intensive care: providing surveillance, soothing, being present, trading information, maintaining security and reducing. These themes are used to strike a balance between turbulence and stability and to achieve equilibrium. As the nursing care intervenes when turbulence emerges, the PICU becomes a sanctuary that offers tranquility, peace and rest.
Little is known about the conditions that must be in place to help adolescent patients and their families gain the confidence needed to continue recovery at home, following the adolescents' hospitalization for anorexia nervosa.
Beliefs about discharge readiness were obtained through an open-ended questionnaire following the patients' first weekend pass home from an in-patient unit. The perceptions of patients, parents, and registered nurses were obtained using parallel versions of a questionnaire.
An examination of the responses revealed four themes; medical stability, education, psychological changes, and community resource planning, that were common to all respondents, as well as themes specific to adolescents and to nurses.
The findings suggest that each group of respondents has unique discharge readiness needs and that registered nurses have an important role to play in helping patients and families make the transition home as successful as possible. Implications for nursing practice are highlighted.