PhD for Researcher Looking to Help Improve Management and Care of Mental Health Sufferers
A UKZN PhD study conducted by Dr Faith Nana Dube explored strategies to improve the management and care of people suffering mental health conditions.
Titled: “The Outcomes of Implementing the Department of Health Mental Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Psychiatric Patients at Primary Health Care Clinics”, the study examined the practice adopted and implemented by primary health care (PHC) nurses when managing people with mental health conditions.
It also focused on PHC nurses behaviour while attending to people with mental health conditions at PHC clinics.
Dube conducted the research while she was working as Mental Health Co-ordinator at the District Office in the uThungulu Health District from January 2006 to December 2013. She visited the clinics to monitor the delivery of mental health care services and to provide support.
‘During these support visits, I identified a lot of gaps in the management of people with mental health conditions. I then decided to embark on this study by involving local PHC nurses through action research in defining the problem and finding ways of implementing solutions for the problem,’ she said.
She said her thesis used mixed methods, qualitative and quantitative. ‘Using mixed methods is time consuming and it drains you emotionally and physically because you have to triangulate the data from different sources and come up with one theme. It is even worse when you are working full-time and you are expected to meet deadlines for the employer. But at the end of it all, you gain a lot of experience,’ she said.
When she was nearing the completion of her PhD thesis, her supervisor, Professor Uys, passed away. ‘It was a very depressing time for me.’
Dube is a Nurse Manager for the Department of Health, ‘My interest is still with people with mental health conditions. I am working with the hospital Mental Health team to improve the conditions and management of people with mental health conditions.’
Dube is keen to support PHC nurses in Region 4 (Uthungulu, UMkhanyakude and Zululand districts) to improve the care and management of people with mental health conditions by implementing her findings.
She said her family was very excited as she is the first person in the family to be awarded a doctorate.