• Derek Milne
Part of the Psychology Applied to Nursing book series (PAN)


Mental health nursing strode vigorously into the health care world of the 1990s and is developing a coherent and ‘transformed’ identity (Cawley, 1990). In particular, the advent of the ‘nursing process’ has given nurses the opportunity to develop a systematically planned and evaluated approach to work. This problem-solving approach is based on the dimensions of assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation (Ward, 1985). These elements are present in a wide range of problem-solving activities outside the field of nursing, since they provide a systematic approach to all kinds of challenges. Walton (1986) notes comparable approaches in education, management, research and other caring occupations. She concluded that the nursing process has helped the profession to move away from the old cliché that doctors are in the curing business, while nurses are in the caring business. In addition, ‘caring’ has metamorphosed from a somewhat passive and pejorative term to one that is recognised as broad and central to nursing (McFarlane, 1976). By comparison, the nursing process has negative connotations for many nurses, being associated with endless paperwork. To avoid these negative associations the phrase ‘problem-solving approach’ is preferred in this book.


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Further Reading

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  3. Hall, J. N. (1990). Towards a psychology of caring. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 29, 129–144. ‘Caring’ has re-emerged as a term describing valued and varied work. In this scholarly review, John Hall considers such features as the philosophies of care reflected by different forms of caring and the emotions associated with caring.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Journal of Personality (1990), 58:1. A special issue of this journal was dedicated to the role played by biology in personality. It includes articles considering the place of genetics, physiology, adaptation and evolution, as well as several which focus on the interaction between biology and environment. This link helps to explain some of the ways in which clients cope with stressors, as well as why they sometimes misperceive stressful events.Google Scholar
  5. Wolfensberger, W. (1972). The Principle of Normalisation in Human Services. Toronto: National Institute on Mental Retardation. Wolfensberger’s work, to promote the principle of socially valued roles, has been a major influence in the field of learning disabilities. Like Tajfel’s book, this one is concerned with the effects of labels and groupings.Google Scholar
  6. Tajfel, H. (1981). Human groups and social categories. Cambridge: University Press. Tajfel is a social psychologist who has developed’ social identity theory’. This holds that a person’s identity, self-concept and self-esteem depend at least partly on the social categories (groups) to which they belong and hence is relevant to the earlier discussion on the terms used.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Derek Milne 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Milne
    • 1
  1. 1.Northumberland District Psychology ServiceUniversity of NewcastleUpon TyneUK

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