This course focuses on the basic psychopathology of mental disorders and the theories and principles underlying nursing care of patients with alterations in mental health status. An historical perspective on the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, including a discussion of the predominant theoretical frameworks for treatment will be presented. The major psychiatric diagnoses will be defined, described, and discussed in terms of their etiology, clinical manifestations, and approaches to treatment. Psychiatric nursing as a specialty area of practice and the application of psychiatric principles across clinical populations will be emphasized. Health promotion, crisis intervention, and family and community concepts related to mental illness will be addressed. Contemporary concerns will be presented related to the impact of mental illness on family stress and burden, substance abuse, and family violence. Personal, family, societal, political, legal, and ethical considerations pertaining to mental illness will be explored. Examples of evidence-based practice will be utilized throughout. The practicum will allow students the opportunity to observe and under supervision experience the work of the psychiatric nurse within the hospital and community.