The experiences of inpatient nursing staff caring for young people with early psychosis

Jessica Thompson, Zoë V.R. Boden, Elizabeth Newton, Kelly Fenton, Gareth Hickman, Michael Larkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Early intervention services aim to improve outcomes for people with first episode psychosis and, where possible, to prevent psychiatric hospital admission. When hospitalisation does occur, inpatient staff are required to support patients and families who may be less familiar with services, uncertain about possible outcomes, and may be experiencing a psychiatric hospital for the first time. Aims: Our study aimed to understand the process of hospitalisation in early psychosis, from the perspective of inpatient nursing staff. We were particularly interested in their experiences of working with younger people in the context of adult psychiatric wards. Methods: Nine inpatient nursing staff took part in semi-structured interviews, which were transcribed and then analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: Five themes are outlined: ‘it’s all new and it’s all learning’; the threatening, unpredictable environment; care and conflict within the intergenerational relationship; motivation and hope; and coping and self-preservation. Conclusions: The phenomenological focus of our approach throws the relational component of psychiatric nursing into sharp relief. We reflect on the implications for organisations, staff, families and young people. We suggest that the conventional mode of delivering acute psychiatric inpatient care is not likely to support the best relational and therapeutic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

© Sage 2019. The final publication is available via Sage at


  • acute care
  • burnout
  • hope
  • inpatient
  • phenomenology
  • psychosis
  • young adult


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