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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Caring for people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder : a discourse analysis with nurses Wensink, Lisa Rachel


People who are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) experience mood changes, idealization, devaluation of others, and are prone to lives that are chaotic. Clinicians who provide care for people with the diagnosis often have uncomfortable feelings such as frustration, anger and irritation. Nurses report having negative thoughts and emotions and struggle with identifying appropriate treatment options. This study used discourse analysis and the researcher’s feminist lens of her experience as a nurse on understanding the societal and medical influences on perceptions of BPD. Registered Nurses (RN’s) and Registered Psychiatric Nurses (RPN’s) working on acute in-patient mental health units in the province of British Columbia, Canada were interviewed to discover discourses underlying nursing work with people diagnosed with BPD. Four major discourses informing nurses’ practice are: Power, Safety, Biomedical, and Caring. Nurse participant recommendations for change action include: BPD education for nurses and healthcare professionals, on-going support for ethical challenges within nursing practice, and improved community resources. This study will inform changes in practice and policy for improved care and health outcomes for people diagnosed with BPD and identify areas of further inquiry for mental health nurses. This can help health care providers identify potentially discriminatory practice and illuminate possibilities for health system change.

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Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International