Varcarolis’ Foundations of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing: A Clinical Approach 8th Edition
My ancestors were storytellers. Boxes of diaries, articles, and books fill an unused closet and detail
many of their moves and thoughts. The family tree includes a newspaper editor, a historian, a poet,
and a nonfiction writer. One great aunt, Ella Chalfant, published a book titled A Goodly Heritage in
1955. Her book centered on inheritance laws in the 1800s and featured copies of wills demonstrating
the disenfranchisement of women (e.g., a husband needed to will a wife her own clothing on his
death). She was likely an early feminist.
As a registered nurse, I did have the opportunity to write some non-fiction in the form of nurses
notes. As a tenure-track faculty member, I was required to write some stories in the form of
presentations, research, and publications.
A 2004 phone call finally put me on the path to join my ancestors in their vocation. A pleasant
voice with a slight New York accent says, “Peggy? Hi, this is Betsy Varcarolis.” I knew the name at
once—my undergraduates used her book. She went on, “The reason I’m calling is that I very much
enjoyed your article, ‘Stigma and help seeking related to depression: A study of nursing students.’ I
would like to feature it as an Evidence-Based Practice box in the fifth edition of my book.” I was
thrilled—what an honor!
This was the beginning. After that call, my work progressed from chapter reviewer to chapter
writer to textbook editor. I spent several years as an apprentice of Elizabeth Varcarolis, the creative
power who conceived of Foundations of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing in 1990. She went on to
make this textbook a leader in the specialty of psychiatric nursing. Betsy has the rare gift of making
the complex understandable and of making impersonal learning a joint process in which the experts
talk with the students rather than just providing information.
In this 8th edition of the book, Elizabeth Varcarolis continues to be honored for her work with her
name in the title. Sincere thanks and gratitude go out to Betsy for enriching my life. The profession
of psychiatric nursing, countless students, and recipients of psychiatric-mental health care have
benefited from her wisdom. I wish for Betsy all the best as she enjoys her retirement hand-in-hand
with her husband, Paul.
My heartfelt appreciation also goes out to the talented group of writers who contributed to the
8th edition. We have a talented pool of veteran writers, and their knowledge and passion continue
to influence psychiatric nursing. A few new writers whose expertise was both recognized and
sought after agreed to join us in this edition. It has truly been a joy working with each of you.
Thanks for the countless hours you spent researching, writing, and rewriting!
A huge debt of gratitude goes to the many educators and clinicians who reviewed the manuscript
and offered valuable suggestions, ideas, opinions, and criticisms. All comments were appreciated
and helped refine and strengthen the individual chapters.
Throughout this project, a number of people at Elsevier provided superb support. I am grateful
for Tracey Schriefer, our Senior Project Manager, who nudged me to meet deadlines, and Paula
Catalano, a talented and creative designer. Yvonne Alexopoulos, Senior Content Strategist, kept me
on a straight path and helped me work through some thorny issues. Lisa Newton, Content
Development Manager, was my ever-optimistic colleague who celebrated each milestone with a
smiley emoji and an exclamation mark! My sincere thanks go out to my whole Elsevier family.
To the Instructor
We are living in an age of fast-paced discoveries in neurobiology, genetics, and
psychopharmacology. Researchers continue to seek the most effective evidence-based approaches
for patients and their families. Legal issues and ethical dilemmas faced by the health care system
are magnified accordingly. Given these challenges, keeping up and knowing how best to teach our
students and serve our patients can seem overwhelming. With contributions from many
knowledgeable and experienced nurse educators, our goal is to bring to you the most current and
comprehensive trends and evidence-based practices in psychiatric-mental health nursing.
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