Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-21-1963


The problem of this study was to investigate the perceptions of the psychiatric nurse and the patient in the therapeutic community. Those perceptions to be studied were: (l) the nurses' perceptions of their actual role and their ideal role; (2) the patients' perceptions of the nurses' actual role; and (3) the perceptions of the nurses and patients about therapeutic community ideology. A formulative or exploratory study was the method of research used. The instrument developed to obtain data was a Q-sort. Literature pertaining to the therapeutic community was utilized in the development of the fifty-one statements in the Q-sort. These statements related to communal ideologies involving such concepts as democratization, permissiveness, communalism, and reality-confrontation. Twenty patients and twenty nurses performed the sorts requested. The product-moment coefficient of correlation was used to determine statistically the degree or strength relationships between the pairs of sorts. The correlation between the mean ratings for each pair of the three sorts performed by the subjects was calculated. It was concluded that the nurse in this particular hospital was performing close to her ideal role, indicating a relatively high degree of job satisfaction. It was indicated that the nurse recognized her role and accepted the ideologies in the therapeutic community, but did not always carry them out in practice. The Q-sort was found to be effective in assessment of patient-staff communication. However, it was indicated that the communication was not always as adequate as the nurses had perceived. A basic agreement between nurses and patients about their perceptions of the ideologies of the therapeutic community was evidenced. It was also concluded that psychiatric patients could perform the Q-sort adequately. It was recommended that objective data obtained from the Q-sort items could be utilized in evaluating job satisfaction of nurses in the therapeutic milieu. These data could also be utilized as an evaluative measure of the adaptation of the student or staff nurse to the role demanded of her in a therapeutic community setting.