ATTITUDE OF PSYCHIATRIC WARD NURSES OF TWO NIGERIAN TERTIARY HOSPITALS TO SUBSTANCE USE CLIENTS
Attitude of nurses to substance use clients could constitute major barriers to treatment. Anecdotal evidences show that some psychiatric ward nurses at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) and the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi may view substance use clients as being responsible for their clinical circumstances. They may exhibit an attitude that gives the impression that the clients are morally weak and have formed a bad habit which they are not prepared to do away with. The clients are seen as impossible for therapy. Consequently, the aims of this cross-sectional study were to provide knowledge on the attitude of psychiatric wards nurses to substance use clients and to find out factors that may determine such attitude. Comparison was also made between the two hospitals. An instrument consisting of sociodemographic variables and the Drug and Drug Problems Perceptions Questionnaire was administered on all nurses of both wards. Females made up 82.1% of the participants, 50% were above 45 years old while 89.3 were married. All of them practised Christianity and 60.7% of them were from UBTH. Sixty three point six percent of nurses from FMC had negative attitude while it was 47.1% for UBTH, the difference was not significant. Overall, 53.6% of the participants had a negative attitude. Only being a trained psychiatric nurse and being primarily interested in caring for substance use clients significantly differentiated nurses with positive attitude from those with negative attitude. Negative attitude towards substance use clients is not desirable as this would constitute a barrier to treatment and put client and society at risk of the adverse consequences of substance use. Trained psychiatric care nurses and nurses with interest in substance use disorder should provide care for substance use clients.
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