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Practice nurses mental health provide space to patients to discuss unpleasant emotions.

Griep, E.C.M., Noordman, J., Dulmen, A.M. van. Practice nurses mental health provide space to patients to discuss unpleasant emotions. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: 2016, 23(2), 77-85
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What is known on the subject?
A core skill of practice nurses' mental health is to recognize and explore patients' unpleasant emotions. Patients rarely express their unpleasant emotions directly and spontaneously, but instead give indirect signs that something is worrying them.

What does the paper adds to existing knowledge?
Patients with mild psychosocial and psychological problems provide signs of worrying or express a clear unpleasant emotion in 94% of consultations with a practice nurse mental health. Nurses' responses to patients' signs of worrying or clear unpleasant emotions were mostly characterized by providing space for patients to talk about these emotions, by using minimal responses.

What are the implications for practice?
Practice nurses' mental health have passive listening skills, and to a lesser extent, use active listening techniques. Accurate emotion detection and the ability to pick out emotional signs during consultations must also be considered as an important skill for health providers to improve patient-centred communication.

Aim
Patients with physical problems are known to express their emotional concerns in an implicit way only. Whether the same counts for patients presenting mental health problems in primary care is unknown. This study aims to examine how patients with mild psychosocial and psychological complaints express their concerns during consultations with the practice nurse mental health and how practice nurses respond to these expressions.

Method
Fifteen practice nurses mental health working in Dutch general practices participated in the study. Their consultations with 116 patients with mild psychosocial or psychological complaints were video recorded. patients' explicitly expressed emotional concerns and more implicit expressions of underlying emotional problems (cues) as well as nurses' responses to these expressions were rated using the Verona Coding Definition of Emotional Sequences.

Results
Almost all consultations contained at least one cue or concern (94%). Nurses' responses were mostly characterized by providing space for patients to talk about their cue or concern in a non-explicit way (62%), by using minimal responses (42%).

Discussion
Practice nurses mental health have passive listening skills, and to a lesser extent, use active listening techniques. However, there are no strict rules which way of responding is the best and patients value responses differently. (aut. ref)