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Changing culture

Does acute mental health care have to be institutionally dehumanising? I have seen enormous compassion displayed in coercive environments. I have seen staff and patients working together collaboratively and authentically, irrespective of the legal authority compelling them to do so. I have seen situations that have arisen in the context of a patient’s distress that have been met with great tenderness and validation. Yet we still have the testimony of survivors describing the abusive and authoritarian treatment that they have experienced as inpatients. We have registered mental health nurses joking about the sedating effects of rapid tranquilisation on social media . And we have people within the profession who think doing that is OK. Nurses have long been involved in the delivery of 24/7 patient care in mental health settings. It is fair to say that without nurses, at least within the current context and set up of health services, inpatient care would cease to function

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