Compassionate care, or humanism, should be available to all patients, but the stigma associated with mental illness is a barrier to many people receiving the appropriate care. Views held by Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students can vary from custodial, or the belief in a traditional medical model which involved a highly controlled setting for all mentally ill patients, to humanistic, or viewing the hospital as a therapeutic community for the human needs of a patient. This study examines the views of BSN students before their psychiatric clinical experience through a pretest and post-test survey and analyzes for a shift in opinion following the psychiatric clinical experience. This study’s aim is to identify the effect of exposure to mentally ill patients on BSN students’ opinions of mental illness. A convenience sample of 56 BSN students from the University of Central Florida College of Nursing was used; recruitment happened through an announcement made during the psychiatric mental health lecture. An online survey was distributed before the psychiatric mental health clinical experience, and a post-test survey was done following the conclusion of this clinical experience. Results showed an overall shift toward humanistic views following exposure to mental illness. These results demonstrate the value of the psychiatric mental health clinical experience in developing humanistic views among BSN students. The results of this study complement past research, which has shown that people who have not had experience with mentally ill persons tend to show more negative, custodial views. However, knowledge and experience can shape one’s view in a more humanistic way, opening up nurses to provide compassionate care.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Dever, Kimberly


Loerzel, Victoria


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing




Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date