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Professional Standards for Psychiatric Nursing

The following glossary aims to clarify the meaning of specialized working terms found in the Professional Standards for Registered Psychiatric Nurses. This glossary is not intended to contain a comprehensive definition of those terms.

Boundaries: Limits that protect the space between the professional's power and the client's vulnerability.  Boundaries define and separate professional roles from other roles. Boundaries are the limits that allow a safe connection between a professional and a client and are always based on the client's needs (Peterson, M. 1992).

Client: Individual, groups, families, and communities (Registered Psychiatric Nurses Entry-Level Competencies, Registered Psychiatric Nurses Canada, 2014).

Competencies: The integrated knowledge, skills, professional judgment and attitudes required by a registered psychiatric nurse to practice competently, ethically and safely (Verma, Paterson & Medves, 2006).

Continuing Competence: The ongoing ability of a registered psychiatric nurse to integrate and apply the knowledge, skills, professional judgment, attitudes, values and interpersonal attributes required to practice safely and ethically in their current role and setting (CRPNA, September 2013).

Continuum of Care: A comprehensive system of services and programs, ranging from mental health promotion  and illness prevention to specialized services, and designed to match the needs of individuals and populations with appropriate care and treatment, and which vary according to levels of service, structure, and intensity of care. (Austin et al. 2019).

Counter-Transference: The nurse's reactions to a client that are based on the nurse's unconscious needs, conflicts, problems, and views of the world. See also Transference (Austin & Boyd, 2010).

Cultural Competence: The ability of nurses to apply knowledge and skill appropriately in cross-cultural situations, and to adapt care delivery to meet the patient's cultural needs and preferences (Pollard, Ray & Haase, 2014).

Cultural Safety: Both a process and an outcome whose goal is to promote greater equity. It focuses on root causes of power imbalances and inequitable social relationships in health care, and includes cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity and cultural competence (Canadian Nurses Association, 2013).

Empower: To make others stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights (Oxford Dictionary, 2019).

Evidence-Informed: Care based on the collection, interpretation and integration of valid, important, and applicable patient-reported, clinician-observed, and research-derived evidence. (Halter, 2014).

Leadership: The efforts by leaders who may, but do not necessarily, hold formal positions of authority to engage followers in the joint pursuit of mutually agreed-upon goals (Kellerman, 1999).

Professional Judgment: The evaluation of evidence to a make a clinical decision. It is the ability to make critical distinctions and achieve a balanced viewpoint, including the reaction of the registered psychiatric nurse to the client. (RPNRC Entry Level Competencies, November 2014).

Quality: Quality of health care is comprised of multiple dimensions, including five that focus on the patient/client experience:

  • Accept​​ability: Care is respectful and responsive to user preferences, needs and values
  • Appropriateness: Care is evidence-informed and specific to individual clinical needs
  • Accessibility: Care and services are reached with ease
  • Safety: Care avoids resulting in harm
  • Effectiveness: Care t​hat is known to achieve intended outcomes (BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, 2017).

Therapeutic Relationship: An interpersonal process that is purposeful, goal directed and focused on achieving outcomes in the best interest of the client, in which the nurse maximizes their communication skills, understanding of human behaviour, and personal strengths to advance the client's interests and personal growth, and to promote health and well-being.

Therapeutic Use of Self: A complex process of self-awareness through one's own growth and development, as well as one's interactions with others, that guides the process of developing, maintaining and terminating the therapeutic relationship.

Transference: The client's experience of feelings toward the nurse, that were originally held toward significant others in their life. See also Counter-Transference (Halter, 2014)​​​

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