The good, the bad and the therapeutic: psychiatric nursing care in film

  • Author / Creator
    Webster, Cheryl
  • The media is an important information source regarding psychiatric nursing care. There has been limited English language research that has specifically explored the nurse-patient relationships that were depicted in film between psychiatric nurses and the people for whom they cared. Using an interpretive visual inquiry method, fifteen films were selected and analyzed using a relational ethics framework. The films were: Cosi (Joffe, 1996), Frances (Clifford, 1982), Girl, Interrupted (Mangold, 1999), Gothika (Kassovitz, 2003), Harvey (Koster, 1950), High Anxiety (Brooks, 1977), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Forman, 1975), Persona (Bergman, 1966), Snake Pit (Litvak, 1948), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Cameron, 1991), The Caretakers (Bartlett, 1963), The Cobweb (Minnelli, 1955), The Jacket (Maybury, 2005), The Sleep Room (Wheeler, 1998), and Titicut Follies (Wiseman, 1967). The roles of the nurses were described using Peplau’s (1952/1988) role descriptions. These included the roles of stranger, resource person, teacher, leader, surrogate, counsellor, consultant, tutor, safety agent, mediator, administrator, recorder, observer, and researcher. Exemplars were drawn from the films to discuss each of the following relational ethics themes: mutual respect, engagement, embodied knowledge, environment, and uncertainty. Two primary discourses were found embedded within the relational ethic themes: otherness and power/control. Within these discourses, sub-discourses relating to stigmatization, prejudice, domination, and marginalization were also found. Nursing must be attentive to the messages contained within the depictions of psychiatric nursing care. Nurses can no longer afford to be silent; as these images have consequences for the patients, their families, and the nurses working in this complex specialty area.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Forchuk, Cheryl (Health Sciences, University of Western Ontario)
    • Sobsey, Dick (Education)
    • Cameron, Brenda (Nursing)
    • Paul, Pauline (Nursing)
    • Ipperciel, Donald (Arts, Campus Saint-Jean)