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Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2006 Oct;20(5):234-41.

"She took the time to make sure she understood": mental health patients' experiences of being understood.

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School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Moore Building 320, Greensboro, NC 27402, USA.


The foundation of psychiatric/mental health nursing is the relationship between nurse and patient. Caring for persons with mental illness within the context of this relationship requires knowledge of the individual. To gain this knowledge, understanding the patient's perceptions and concerns is essential. Research suggests that this understanding does not always occur. The study reported here examined what it means to individuals with mental illness to be understood. In-depth phenomenological interviews revealed three predominant themes: "I was important," "it really made us connect," and "they got on my level." Nurses can use these findings to improve the care of those with mental illness.

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