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Power and Resistance

Nursing Students' Experiences in Mental Health Practicums

Slemon, Allie, MSN, RN; Bungay, Vicky, PhD, RN; Jenkins, Emily, PhD, RN; Brown, Helen, PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000221
Original Articles

Mental health challenges are a leading health issue, and while nurses should be well positioned to provide care to this client population, nurses are not adequately prepared for this role during their education. This qualitative narrative inquiry explored nursing students' (N = 15) experiences within their mental health practicums. Analyzed through Foucault's concept of micropower, participants' narratives illustrate that students observed nurses holding power over patients, and enacted resistance to this power in a complex interplay of empowerment and disempowerment. Study findings speak to the need for systemic shifts in mental health practice and ongoing educator support of students in mental health practicums.

School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Correspondence: Allie Slemon, MSN, RN, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, T201-2211 Westbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 2B5, Canada (

Allie Slemon was supported for this study by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Master's) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Vicky Bungay is partially supported by a Canada Research Chair in Gender, Equity and Community Engagement and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Scholar Award.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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