The challenge of interdisciplinary collaboration in acute psychiatry: Impacts on the occupational milieu Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper, based on a larger ethnographic exploration of the acute inpatient environment for older people with mental illness, describes and provides interpretations of staff perceptions and actions in order to highlight tensions between professional groups which adversely affect opportunities for patients to engage in meaningful occupations. Fieldwork conducted in 1999-2000, supplemented by 20 in-depth interviews with a range of mental health professionals, provides the foundation for suggesting that the extent and nature of occupational engagement is significantly impacted by interdisciplinary relations. The skill of occupational therapists to collaborate with their nursing colleagues in a socially complex environment, and the importance of personal leadership skills among our new graduates are discussed.

publication date

  • April 2009