Social Perception Of Nursing Essay

1040 Words 5 Pages
The social perception of nursing has varied throughout the centuries. With the development of research around mental health, so has the need for the development of nurses provided for those with mental health illnesses. This essay will include the history that led to the first mental health institution and the first nurses, what influences social perception of nurses such as media, The clothier report on Beverley Allitt who despite being a general nurse, how her own mental health changed the perception of mental health nurses through association, the NMC code nurses follow to help promote a good perception and how people can socially change the problem of stigma with mental health by talking and campaigning about it.

In 1247 Bethlem hospital
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In the Sunday tabloid newspaper alone, 45% of the articles contain the words ‘loony’ to ‘nutter’ (Cutcliffe and Hannigan, 2001). These words are associated with mental health which then links to the nurses and causes an inaccurate perception of what mental health nurses work through. It connotates a sense of unacceptance which doesn’t exist for those who nurse. Through the newspapers lots of the population were able to read the clothier report about the actions of Beverley Allit; a general nurse working on a pediatric ward where she injured or murdered thirteen children in her care. Despite health record checks she was still able to get a job and was later diagnosed with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (Brykczynska, 1994). Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is a personality disorder where the person fabricates illness to themselves. They pretend to be ill by saying they have stomach pain or physically make themselves ill by swallowing something they shouldn’t (Nhs.uk, 2016). When the news of Allitt came to the public 's attention it increased the negative social perception of mental health nurses. With the parents of Allit 's victims giving statements about the grief and some parents not accepting the first amount of compensation offered (News.bbc.co.uk, 2016) the damage she had done had a psychological effect to the victims and their parents. Through nurses not noticing or being aware of Allitt’s …show more content…
The code allows for better care with codes such as 2.6 where nurses should react appropriately to patients in distress (Nmc.org.uk, 2016). With care becoming better for those with mental health due to the NMC codes social perception is becoming more positive. A study was carried out based on stigma within the public and its effect on perception. With 1073 mental health professionals and 1737 members of the public, it was discovered that the professionals had more negative stereotypes than the general public (Nordt, Rossler and Lauber, 2005). Likewise, when 122 nurses were asked what was the least liked specialty of care out of ten different areas, mental health nursing ranked bottom personally and societally. It was also said they were the least likely to be considered academic out of all the areas (Halter, 2016). Mental health nurses can reduce stigmatization by campaigning through the mental health awareness day yearly and by supporting accurate depictions of mental health within media. (Apps.webofknowledge.com, 2016). This way we will create a more positive

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