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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 1999 Feb;6(1):53-60.

Discourses on empowerment.

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Department of Nursing Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK.


The discourse community of British psychiatric and mental health nursing is a contested realm. The 'Big Stories' of policy and planning of services are clearly articulated in disputes in journals, but the 'Little Stories' of nurses' work and patients' or users' experiences may be ignored or under-valued. This paper illustrates how the Big Story of a central theme in current policy--empowerment--is articulated in the realm of research funding and design, and how it is articulated by practitioners. The paper focuses attention on the responsibilities faced by researchers, in relating the Little Stories of practice and the Big Story of policy. It reports early and tentative findings from a study of community psychiatric nurses' empowerment of people with enduring mental disorders. The paper suggests ways in which strategies for analysis of qualitative data from interviews with CPNs may be informed by ideas drawn from the field of discourse analysis; reflexively examining how researchers' discourses relate to those of policy makers and mental health nursing practitioners. This paper is based on a presentation at the Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research Conference, Napier University, Edinburgh, 17 September 1997.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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