Community psychiatric nursing in the Netherlands: a survey of a thriving but threatened profession

B. Koekkoek, B. van Meijel, A. Schene, G. Hutschemaekers

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The aim of this paper is to describe and analyse the Dutch community psychiatric nursing profession. In spite of their large numbers, estimated at 2900, Dutch community psychiatric nurses (CPNs) have contributed little to the international literature. The history of the profession reveals a relatively isolated development, resulting in few connections with nursing and mental healthcare research. Because of various developments in these fields, CPNs appear under threat. A survey design was used to administer a 43-item electronic questionnaire, which yielded a response rate of 40%. The Dutch CPN has a mean age of 48 years, works about 32 h per week and has over 20 years of nursing experience. The Dutch CPN has a caseload of 48 patients, often participates in clinical intervision and hardly works according to evidence-based methods. Dutch community psychiatric nursing is, paradoxically, both thriving and threatened. CPNs seek to maintain a model that pays attention to both social needs and explanations, and to psychiatric diagnoses. This broad orientation may be considered essential to nursing. However, it is also a huge drawback as CPNs have not succeeded to clearly articulate what their profession adds to the care and treatment of psychiatric patients
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-828
JournalJournal of psychiatric and mental health nursing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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