Instrumental inputs, the units of energy that are passed from nurse to client in therapeutic encounters, stimulate the client to develop new competencies. This article develops the concept, part of the Interpersonal Theory of Nursing, and discusses its use in 2 clinical trials of an advanced practice psychiatric-mental health intervention with high-risk mothers with significant depressive symptoms. Systematic documentation of instrumental inputs in the strategic interactions between advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nurses and clients has provided cumulative empirical examples that are presented. The concept has great utility for clinical practice and research and continuing development and testing of the Interpersonal Theory of Nursing.
School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill (Dr Beeber); the Head Start and Early Head Start Programs, PEACE, Inc, Syracuse, NY (Ms Canuso); and the Durham Regional Hospital, Durham, NC (Ms Emory).
Corresponding author: Linda S. Beeber, PhD, RN, CS, School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB 7460, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Preparation of this article was supported by 2 sources: DHHS/Administration for Child and Family/ACYF Early Head Start-University Partnership grant 90YF0042/01 (EHS Latina Mothers: Reducing Depressive Symptoms and Improving Infant/Toddler Mental Health) and National Institutes of Mental Health grant RO1 MH065524-01 A2 (Reducing Depressive Symptoms in Low-Income Mothers).