Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 11-13-1959


The problem, of this thesis was to identify psychiatric patients' understanding of why nurses contact them even though no specific nursing function prompted the contact. The purposes of this study were to examine non-specific nurse-patient contacts in a psychiatric hospital, to identify if nurses indicate to patients why contacts were made and to obtain indications of patient understanding of why nurses contact them. The method of the study was the descriptive survey, using the technique of interviewing psychiatric patients to gather the data. Twenty psychiatric patients were interviewed in a selected psychiatric hospital. The patients for interview were selected through the observation of nurse-patient contacts by the investigator, and were interviewed following an observed non-specific contact which was initiated by the nurse. In the interview the patients were asked to tell if the nurse gave a reason for making the contact, as well as to give their opinion as to why the contact was made. The data were analysed through a tabulation and a classification of the responses. This analysis revealed that two out of the twenty nurses gave the patients some verbal indication of why they were initiating a non-specific contact. The classification of the opinion responses revealed that twelve of the twenty patients did not know why the nurse contacted them and fourteen of the twenty saw the contacts as an expression of interest by the nurse. One patient felt his behavior was being observed, and one felt the contact was made to meet the nurse's own need.