Original Research

Experiences of psychiatric nurses caring for mental healthcare users with a comorbid disorder

Annikie V. Hobyane, Nompumelelo Ntshingila, Marie Poggenpoel
Curationis | Vol 45, No 1 | a2354 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v45i1.2354 | © 2022 Annikie V. Hobyane, Nompumelelo Ntshingila, Marie Poggenpoel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2022 | Published: 05 December 2022

About the author(s)

Annikie V. Hobyane, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein, South Africa
Nompumelelo Ntshingila, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein, South Africa
Marie Poggenpoel, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Caring for mental healthcare users (MHCUs) with a comorbid disorder of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and schizophrenia has always been challenging and requires expertise, skill, intuition and empathy.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to explore and describe the experiences of psychiatric nurses caring for MHCUs with a comorbid disorder of HIV and schizophrenia.

Method: A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design was used. Eight participants were selected through purposive sampling for individual in-depth interviews to collect data. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data.

Results: Three themes emerged from this study. The first theme is that the psychiatric nurses experienced deep frustration because they were capable but unable to manage MHCUs with HIV and schizophrenia because of poor infrastructure and other contributing barriers. The second theme identified that the psychiatric nurses experienced discrimination against MHCUs compromising their holistic recovery. Lastly, the psychiatric nurses identified the need for health care workers in general hospitals and communities and families of MHCUs with a comorbid disorder to be educated in mental health issues to ensure continuous medical care.

Conclusion: The results of this study showed that psychiatric nurses became exhausted when trying to cope with difficult nursing situations. The challenges they faced had negative consequences for the mental health of the psychiatric nurses and compromised patient care.

Contribution: This study adds knowledge to nursing practice, nursing education and nursing research by implementing recommendations to mitigate the challenges of psychiatric nurses caring for MHCUs with HIV and schizophrenia.


Keywords

caring; comorbid; HIV; lived experiences; mental healthcare users; psychiatric nurses; schizophrenia

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