Editor's note: From its first issue in 1900 through to the present day, AJN has unparalleled archives detailing nurses' work and lives over more than a century. These articles not only chronicle nursing's growth as a profession within the context of the events of the day, but also reveal prevailing societal attitudes about women, health care, and human rights. Today's nursing school curricula rarely include nursing's history, but it's a history worth knowing. To this end, From the AJN Archives highlights articles selected to fit today's topics and times.
During the 1960s, the therapeutic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) were studied in psychiatric clinical settings. In this February 1964 article, nurse Kay Parley writes enthusiastically about this work at one such research hospital. She describes the benefits of LSD therapy for patients with alcoholism, as well as the richness of the experience for the nurse who guides the patient through treatment. “No role is so welcomed on our psychiatric unit than that of ‘sitting’ with a patient during LSD therapy.”
Parley vividly describes the nurse's role in these treatments. Her own long hospitalization for “manic-depressive psychosis” and treatment with LSD undoubtedly framed her approach to this therapy.
Today there is renewed interest in the therapeutic use of psychoactive substances such as LSD. Penn and colleagues provide an update in “Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy” in this issue.—Betsy Todd, MPH, RN