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Stephen Hamilton, MSc, PG Dip, BSc, RMN, is a part-time lecturer/doctoral student at the School of Communication
Pauline Irving, DPhil, is course director for the guidance and counselling programme, both at the University of Ulster
According to Pirkis et al (2001) counselling is an integral part of the role of the psychiatric nurse. However, from the patient’s perspective, it is an under-utilised tool, and this may adversely affect the nature of patient care (Burnard, 1996; Long, 1996; French, 1994). Ask mental health nurses to articulate the nature and essence of the theory and practice of their counselling provision in the acute clinical mental health setting and many are apparently unable to do so.