The professional psychiatric/mental health nurse: skills, competencies and supports required to adopt recovery-orientated policy in practice

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Abstract

Accessible summary

What is known on the subject?

What this paper adds to existing knowledge?

What are the implications for practice?

Introduction:

The restructuring of national mental health policy to an integrated recovery ethos demands a clarification in the psychiatric/mental health nurse's role, skills and competencies.

Aim/Question:

To explore the psychiatric/mental health nurse's role and identify skills, competencies and supports required to adopt recovery-orientated policy in practice.

Method:

An exploratory mixed methods study in multiple health services in Ireland with N = 1249 psychiatric/mental health nurses. Data collection used a survey, focus groups and written submissions. Data analysis used descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.

Results:

The medical profession use a symptom-focused approach to mental healthcare delivery. Nurses viewed this as a primary inhibitor to recovery-orientated practice. Professional development in prevention and earlier intervention within primary care environments requires development. Nurses require research support to measure the effectiveness of the mental health interventions they provide.

Implications and conclusion:

The effective implementation of the recovery approach requires a multitude of strategies and narrative threads in an overall medical assessment. Nurses need support from medics in providing consistency of assessments/documentation of required psychosocial interventions. A greater range of specialist services provided by nurses including psychosocial interventions and health promotion is fundamental to quality care and improving service user outcomes in primary care.

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