Nurses' professional stigma and attitudes towards postpartum women with severe mental illness.J Clin Nurs 2018; 27(7-8):1543-1551JC
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
To examine professional stigma and attitudes of parenthood towards postpartum women with severe mental illness and the association between postpartum nurses' attitudes and nursing interventions that promote motherhood.
Stigma and attitudes towards parenthood of women with severe mental illness may influence nurses' clinical practices.
Cross-sectional, mixed methods.
The Stigma among Health Professionals towards People with Severe Mental Illness, Attitudes towards Parenthood among People with Severe Mental Illness and Nursing Interventions that Promote Becoming a Mother Questionnaires were used in the study, as well as qualitative analysis.
Sixty-one postpartum nurses participated in the study. Increased stigma was associated with an increase in negative attitudes towards parenthood among people with severe mental illness, in general, and towards their parenthood skills, in particular. Postpartum nurses reported a decrease in nursing interventions and a therapeutic nurse-client relationship that fosters mother's empowerment. Themes that emerged from the qualitative analysis were postpartum nurse's perceptions of inadequacy, difficulty of postpartum nurses taking responsibility for managing women with severe mental illness and a paternalistic approach to these women, rather than empowerment, regarding infant care.
Nurses providing care to postpartum women with severe mental illness and their infants may provide fewer routine postpartum interventions due to professional stigma and negative attitudes concerning parenting skills. Nurses should provide individualised, tailored care that allows women with severe mental illness to become a mother to the best of her ability.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE
Not all women with severe mental illness are capable of caring for themselves and/or their baby. Nurses should provide individualised, tailored care that allows the women with severe mental illness to become a mother to the best of her ability.