Nurses’ professional stigma and attitudes towards postpartum women with severe mental illness

Revital Ordan, Ron Shor, Michal Liebergall-Wischnitzer, Lawrence Noble, Anita Noble*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aims and objectives: To examine professional stigma and attitudes of parenthood towards postpartum women with severe mental illness and the association between postpartum nurses’ attitudes and nursing interventions that promote motherhood. Background: Stigma and attitudes towards parenthood of women with severe mental illness may influence nurses’ clinical practices. Design: Cross-sectional, mixed methods. Methods: The Stigma among Health Professionals towards People with Severe Mental Illness, Attitudes towards Parenthood among People with Severe Mental Illness and Nursing Interventions that Promote Becoming a Mother Questionnaires were used in the study, as well as qualitative analysis. Results: Sixty-one postpartum nurses participated in the study. Increased stigma was associated with an increase in negative attitudes towards parenthood among people with severe mental illness, in general, and towards their parenthood skills, in particular. Postpartum nurses reported a decrease in nursing interventions and a therapeutic nurse–client relationship that fosters mother's empowerment. Themes that emerged from the qualitative analysis were postpartum nurse's perceptions of inadequacy, difficulty of postpartum nurses taking responsibility for managing women with severe mental illness and a paternalistic approach to these women, rather than empowerment, regarding infant care. Conclusion: Nurses providing care to postpartum women with severe mental illness and their infants may provide fewer routine postpartum interventions due to professional stigma and negative attitudes concerning parenting skills. Nurses should provide individualised, tailored care that allows women with severe mental illness to become a mother to the best of her ability. Relevance to clinical practice: Not all women with severe mental illness are capable of caring for themselves and/or their baby. Nurses should provide individualised, tailored care that allows the women with severe mental illness to become a mother to the best of her ability.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1543-1551
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Volume27
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Keywords

  • mental health
  • postpartum care
  • severe mental illness (SMI)
  • women's health

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