Attitudes Toward Mental Illness: Does a Psychiatric Nursing Course Make a Difference?

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Examined whether a psychiatric nursing course was effective in favorably changing nursing students' attitudes toward mental illness. Using an abbreviated form of the Opinions About Mental Illness Scale (OMI), data were collected over a 3-yr period from 185 sophomore nursing students before entering and after completing a psychiatric nursing course. The psychiatric nursing course did make a difference: of the 5 factors in the scale, 4 changed significantly. Students became less Authoritarian, less Benevolent, more inclined toward Mental Health Ideology, and less Social Restrictive. Results have implications for nursing education and practice.

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