The past is another country: An oral history of work in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960s and 1970s

Denise McGarry, Beverley Pegg

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

Abstract

The past is another country' '. An oral history of work in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960s and 1970s. [Hartley, Leslie Poles (1953): The Go-Between, London: Hamish Hamilton] The book's opening sentence, "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there" An oral history project has been underway for five years collecting the recollections of past staff. Cleaners, allied health, medical and nursing staff from the 1960s and 1970s have provided observations of their work experiences in a large psychiatric hospital. The hospital concerned from its inception is described as an innovative departure from previous models of psychiatric care. Innovations included preparation of nursing staff, staffing levels, patient-centred care and treatment approachesWhy undertake such an exercise, which is laborious in both its data collection method and thematic analysis approach?It is the contention of the authors as indicated in the title, that ignorance of the past is perilous. Although the past may often be viewed with rose-coloured glasses, good practice models deserve reclamation. Such work serves to re-invigorate the future.Initial analysis of the data from 15 subjects provided commentary addressing a number of themes. Partnership and collaboration were prominent amongst them and provide the focus for this paper. Recollections of working clearly featured the nature of the working relations of the everyday. Partnerships within one's professional discipline and collaboration across disciplines formed the framework for description of a myriad of other observations. Treatments, trends, models of care were explained through the lens of affiliations and cooperative relationships with others in the work place. This strongly suggests that partnerships and collaboration were the bedrock of the recollection of work in mental health 40 or 50 years past.Although trite, thestrength of this theme instructs us to take note. Is it timely for our profession to reclaim and re-inv
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilding Traditions with Innovation
EditorsAndrea McLaughlin
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventGreater Western Sydney Branch (GWS), Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc (ACMHN) - Parramatta, NSW, Australia
Duration: 25 Mar 2011 → …

Conference

ConferenceGreater Western Sydney Branch (GWS), Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc (ACMHN)
CountryAustralia
Period25/03/11 → …

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    McGarry, D., & Pegg, B. (2011). The past is another country: An oral history of work in a psychiatric hospital in the 1960s and 1970s. In A. McLaughlin (Ed.), Building Traditions with Innovation