Main Article Content
This descriptive research aimed to investigate perceptions and attitudes of the 3rd year nursing students towards psychiatric patients during clinical practice. The participants were 63 of 3rd year nursing students of Boromarajonani College of Nursing Changwat Nonthaburi. The students were interviewed using a questionnaire on knowledge of psychiatric theories, psychiatric patients, feelings of psychiatric patients, feelings on practicing, and semi-structured interview about their needs for help from supervisors and staff. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis. The results found that 82.6 percent of nursing students had some knowledge of psychiatric theories. Most of the students perceived that the mental patients were people who had perception disturbances (52.2%) and thought disturbances (39.1%). Around half of the students (56.5%) feared psychiatric patients and felt pity for them (47.8%). Students were excited during practicing (47.8%). They needed their teachers to summarize core concepts of mental health and psychiatric nursing, teach them without any pressure, check their assignments and give them feedback, provide counseling, and encourage them during the practice. Students also needed staff at the hospital to give advice and opportunity as well as provide support and help during the time of need. As the results of the study, the students should be prepared before practicing at the hospital about 1) knowledge about core concepts of psychiatric theories, mental health, psychiatric nursing and 2) attitudes towards the psychiatric patients. The results would shed some light on how to build a good understanding of students and patients and to reduce the stigma toward mentally ill patients.