Mental Health content of comprehensive pre-registration nursing curricula in Australia

Terence V. McCann, Lorna Moxham, Kim Usher, Patrick A. Crookes, Gerald Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


In 2008 the final report of the Mental Health Nurse Education Taskforce was released. This paper presents the findings of the report's survey into the mental health content of generic pre-registration nursing curricula in Australia. A questionnaire was sent to all nursing schools providing pre-registration curricula. Results indicate curricula contained a wide range of mental health theory and clinical hours. While the majority of universities incorporated most of the 20 key topics recommended by the Mental Health Nurse Education Taskforce in their courses, few addressed issues such as Indigenous mental health. There was considerable competition for placements between universities, and concern about the quality of some placements. Nurse academics with formal qualifications in mental health and specialist clinical mental health nurses were mainly involved in teaching theory. Specialist mental health clinicians and clinical educators were the key groups engaged in students' clinical education, and preceptorship was the most common form of clinical supervision. Consumers and carers had limited involvement in the development or provision of mental health content of pre-registration curricula. Greater attention is needed to increasing the mental health content in pre-registration curricula. Furthermore, initiatives should be developed to increase access to clinical placements and reduce competition for places between universities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-530
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


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