The views of heads of schools of nursing about mental health nursing content in undergraduate programs

Brenda HAPPELL, MARGARET MCALLISTER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Criticisms about the mental health nursing content of Bachelor of Nursing programs have been common since the introduction of comprehensive nursing education in Australia. Most criticism has come from the mental health nursing sector and the views of key stakeholders have not been systematically reported. Heads of Schools of Nursing have considerable influence over the content of nursing programs, and their perspectives must be part of ongoing discussions about the educational preparation of nurses. This article reports the findings of a qualitative exploratory study, involving in-depth interviews with Heads of Schools of Nursing from Queensland, Australia. Thematic data analysis revealed two main themes: Realising the Goal? and Influencing Factors. Overall, participants did not believe current programs were preparing graduates for beginning level practice in mental health settings. In particular, participants believed that the quality of mental health content was influenced by the overcrowded curriculum, the availability of quality clinical placements, the strength of the mental health team, and the degree of consumer focus. The findings suggest the current model of nursing education in Australia does not provide an adequate foundation for mental health nursing practice and alternative approaches should be pursued as a matter of urgency
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-336
Number of pages7
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Volume35
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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