Mental health - Interviewing

Assessment Interview Behaviors

Boyd, M.A. (2008). Psychiatric Nursing (4th ed.). Walters Kluwer/Lippincott.

  • Exhibit empathy
  • Give Recognition--listen actively, encourage patient to continue
  • Demonstrate acceptance
  • Restate--clarify what the patient is trying to say by restating it
  • Reflect--the nurse presents the patient's last statement as a question
  • Focus--bring the conversation back to the questions at hand when the patient goes off on a tangent
  • Use open-end questions--general questions give the patient a chance to speak freely
  • Present reality--present reality when the patient makes unrealistic or exaggerated statements
  • Make observations--the nurse says aloud what patient behaviors are observed. For example, the nurse may say, "I notice you are twisting your fingers; are you nervous about something?

Best Practices for the Interview

  • Respect privacy by lowering your voice or bringing patron to a quiet area
  • Use open-ended questions and neutral questions
  • Be aware of your body language
  • Let the patron finish their question before responding
  • Be aware that the patron may not be aware of the potential impact or seriousness of his/her disorder
  • Be prepared for emotional reactions

Interacting with emotional patrons/patients

Tardiff, Kenneth. Concise Guide to Assessment and Management of Violent Patients. American Psychiatric Publishing.

  • Present a calm appearance
  • Speak softly
  • Speak in a nonprovocative and nonjudgmental manner
  • Speak in a neutral concrete manner
  • Put space between yourself and the patient
  • Show respect for the patient
  • Avoid intense eye contact and authoritarian stance
  • Facilitate the patient's talking
  • Listen to the patient
  • Avoid early interpretation
  • Do not make promises you cannot keep