The value of mental health nurses working in primary care mental health teams

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Abstract

New roles have made it more difficult for nurses to validate their unique contribution, argue Carol Richards and colleagues

Aim

To identify the benefits of inclusion of mental health nurses (MHNs) in primary care mental health teams (PCMHTs) in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Method

Eighteen MHNs and nine team leaders from ten PCMHTs were asked by questionnaire and semi-structured interview, respectively, about the value of the work of MHNs in PCMHTs.

Results

The job titles of MHNs in PCMHTs were varied, using but not recognising the broad knowledge, adaptability and specific competencies of MHNs. Team leaders described valuing all these attributes among MHNs in their teams.

Conclusions

The results reinforce the view that MHNs are not able to articulate or promote their unique contribution to mental health care or to protect their professional identity, and suggest that this is an area for recognition and further work.

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