Psychiatric care and education understood from a student perspective: Enhancing competences empowering personal and social recovery

Janne Brammer Damsgaard, Camilla Lyhne Overgaard, Dorte Wiwe Dürr, Anita Lunde, Peter Thybo, Regner Birkelund

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BACKGROUND: During the last decades a recovery based approach has called for a change in mental health care services. Several programmes have been developed in order to implement a recovery-based approach and the need to develop student and professional skills and competences in education and clinical practice has been documented.

AIM: The aim of this study was to explore how psychiatric care is understood seen from a student perspective with focus on personal competences and educational interventions empowering processes for personal and social recovery.

METHOD: A qualitative design with a phenomenological – hermeneutic approach based on the French philosopher Paul Riceur’s theory of interpretation. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews.

FINDINGS: All interviewees expressed that both theroretically and clinically students did not experience a recovery-oriented approach empowering users’ personal and social recovery process. On the contrary they experienced that both education and practice were dominated by a biomedical approach providing clinical recovery. However, several students were aware of their need of developing personal and relational competences to be able to support the users’ personal and social recovery journey. The students express that there is a need for educational processes targeting personal competences in ‘becoming a professional’ supporting ‘presentness and awareness’ and thereby the development of relational abilities and the courage to engage in them.

CONCLUSION: A one-diemnsional focus on a biomedical approach makes it difficult to develop students’ personal competences during education in practice and theory vital to the development of personal and social recovery-orientated practices. It is recommended that educaters – in practice and in school - accentuate presentness and awareness as crucial relational capabilities and incorporate this in their teaching and supervision method, supporting the education and formation of the students’ (and teachers’ and supervisors’) personal development processes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1241-1250
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • disease, health science and nursing

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