International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1447-0349
Print ISSN: 1445-8330
Manual restraint is used to manage disturbed behaviour by patients. This study aimed to assess the relationship of manual restraint and show of force to conflict behaviours, the use of containment methods, service environment, physical environment, patient routines, staff characteristics, and staff group variables. Data from a multivariate, cross-sectional study of 136 acute psychiatric wards in England were used to conduct this analysis. Manual restraint was used less frequently on English acute psychiatric wards (0.20 incidents per day) than show of force (0.28 incidents per day). Both were strongly associated with the proportion of patients subject to legal detention, aggressive behaviours, and the enforcement of treatment and detention. Medical, nursing, and security guard staff provision were associated in different ways with variations in the use of these coercive interventions. An effective ward structure of rules and routines was associated with less dependence on these control methods. Training for manual restraint should incorporate the scenarios of attempted absconding and enforcement of treatment, as well as violent behaviour. Attempts to lessen usage of these interventions could usefully focus on increasing the availability of medical staff to patients, reducing reliance on security guards and establishing a good ward structure.
The study of the disorders of the mind at the turn of the twentieth century offered useful knowledge about the psyche and the First World War (FWW) provided an avalanche of case studies. Prior to the war the mentally ill were treated with disdain and the social distrust of individuals who did not present as 'normal' was high. The level of diagnostic expertise of psychiatric illness by doctors and nurses was low and as a consequence medicine and nursing was ill-equipped to deal with the phenomenon initially referred to as 'shell shock'. However, the soldiers of the FWW who endured the varied and seemingly unrelated symptoms of shell-shock were respected men - occasional heroes - who were reduced to the status of 'mentals'. There is evidence that civilian trained health professionals altered their views about mental illness during the FWW but initially, the military imperatives inherent in a global conflict perpetuated the notion that mental illness was linked with defective morality. This paper provides an historical account of changes in attitude toward the mentally ill as a consequence of the FWW. The interregnum (1918-39) was a period of advancement in the field of mental health within the civilian sector. However, the imperatives of war negated these developments and there is evidence that the management of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders in the Second World War did not benefit from the lessons learnt in the FWW.
Mental health nursing education in Australia has undergone a significant transition in the last 50 years, influenced by national inquiries, national decisions, and international trends in nursing education. But mental health nursing education had also accumulated decades of history in each state, including sometimes unequal relations with general nursing. Complex inter- and intra-professional relationships at state level influenced this educational transition in each state, and Western Australia provides an example of this influence. Using a range of published and unpublished sources, including oral histories, this paper describes the revision of the mental health nursing curriculum in Western Australia from 1958, responses to the call for transition to the tertiary sector between 1976 and 1984, and the final transition of mental health nursing education to university level in Western Australia in 1994. Mental health nursing's educational standards improved only gradually in Western Australia from 1958 onwards, compared with professional advances in general nursing in the same period. Factors which may have held back these improvements include mental health nursing's professional conservatism, which was outpaced by general nursing's growing radicalization at the national level. A lack of professional confidence and cohesion left mental health nursing unable to respond effectively to rapid external changes in the 1960s and 1970s, and vulnerable to absorption and dominance by general nursing education programs.
This study investigates the psychiatric and social outcomes of treatment by the psychiatric unit of a district general hospital in a semirural region of Australia. The study is a naturalistic investigation of a routine clinical service, and utilizes a longitudinal panel design. Repeat interviews at admission, 1 month and 1 year later were conducted with all consenting respondents (n = 57) with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or related condition, as well as with their nominated relatives. Patients showed significant improvements on clinical measures (P < 0.001) and a high rate of continuation of medication. Most measures of social functioning showed improvement although few were statistically significant. Patients and relative satisfaction was high. Relative worry showed significant improvement in the first month (P < 0.05). There was a high rate of readmission (31 patients) and mean days in hospital were also high at 43 days. These results suggest that basic district general hospital care, operating under both budgetary restrictions and the difficulties associated with recruiting staff can nonetheless provide a credible service. However, the results fall short of what research tells us can be achieved when services are adequately funded and more specifically targeted to meet patient needs.
The objectives of this research were to determine how many registered nurses are working as 'responsible clinicians', under what phases of the legislation they are functioning, and to describe the enabling processes and barriers to nurses undertaking this statutory role. An anonymous descriptive survey was distributed to the 11 nurses who were currently responsible clinicians as well as five senior nurses selected from each of the 21 District Health Boards and the Auckland Regional Forensic Psychiatry Services (n = 121). The response rate was 88.4% (n = 107). The survey questioned respondents on statutory roles currently undertaken. Respondents were asked whether the responsible clinician role was a legitimate one for nurses and whether they were motivated to attain it. They were also asked which competencies of the role they believed they met, their perceptions of credentialing processes and the educational requirements needed to achieve the role. A descriptive statistical analysis was undertaken and open-ended questions were analysed using content analysis. Of the approximately 395 responsible clinicians nationally, 11 (2.8%) are nurses. Most nurses viewed the role as legitimate. However, many were unaware of competencies for the role and credentialing processes, and were somewhat ambivalent about achieving the role due to current workload, role conflict and lack of remuneration. Competency deficits were highlighted. There are grounds to encourage nurses as responsible clinicians given the intent of the legislation. This will require the promulgation of appropriate mental health policy, and a concerted effort by major stakeholders in mental health service delivery.
The measurement of the quality of life of patients diagnosed with psychiatric disorders has become central to evaluating the effectiveness of treatments offered by Australian mental health services. The importance of quality of life as an indicator of the outcomes of interventions has been reflected by a large body of research seeking to measure the impact of variables such as gender, ethnicity and duration of illness on the measurable quality of life of an individual diagnosed with schizophrenia. This study aims to review and synthesize the recent literature in which quality of life has been measured by the use of at least one quality of life instrument. It is concludes that while the measurement of quality of life is valuable as a measure of outcomes, it should be treated as only one means of doing so.
Absconding is a significant problem with potential for harm to patients or the general public. The consequences of absconding include physical harm, prolonged treatment time, and substantial economic costs. The aim of this systematic literature review is to synthesize quality literature about absconding from psychiatric facilities, identify gaps in knowledge, and make recommendations for practice. An electronic search yielded 39 journal articles that met the review criteria. Findings demonstrate that a single definition of absconding remains elusive, making the prevalence of absconding difficult to establish. Absconding events are multifactorial, with environmental, psychosocial, and organic aspects. Negative consequences exist including violence, aggression, and self-neglect and harm to self and others. Papers are clustered around the following themes: harm and risk, absconder profiles, absconding rates, and perceptions of nurses and patients. Nursing interventions designed to decrease absconding have been implemented with success, but only in a few studies and in Australia, none have been reported in the literature to date. Further research is required to identify appropriate nursing-based interventions that may prove useful in reducing the risk of absconding.
In late 2001 Canterbury, New Zealand mental health nurses undertook a variety of strike actions after stalled industrial negotiations with the local district health board. One response to these actions was the temporary reduction of many of the regions metal health services. Unsurprisingly, the print media responded by publicizing the crisis in mental health services on an almost daily basis. This paper reports on subsequent research into these print media representations of the industrial disputes, identifying themes of juxtaposed but largely deprecatory images of both mental health nursing and of consumers of services. Some professional nursing voices were given print space during the strike; however, these were largely incorporated into existing discourses rather than offering a nursing viewpoint on the strike. We, therefore, conclude by suggesting organizational efforts to focus on ways of ensuring that mental health nurses are seen as a legitimate authority by the media.
One in five Australians has a diagnosable mental illness and the impact of the illness on the individual, their family, and the community is significant. Since comprehensive nursing was introduced in the 1980s there have been repeated concerns raised regarding the preparedness of graduates from Australian undergraduate nursing programs to care for people who have a mental illness. In 2009, despite a recent comprehensive national review of the mental health/illness content in pre-registration curricula, these concerns remain. The nursing profession must have a responsibility to the global community to ensure that registered nurses are educated to meet evolving health challenges and the needs of the health consumer in the 21st Century. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the prevalence and impact of mental illness on health care outcomes in all settings and to challenge the profession to acknowledge that mental health nursing content must be a core area of all undergraduate curricula. A nationally coordinated response to address the long standing identified deficits in the educational preparation of comprehensive nurses is now a priority to ensure that nurses remain a major stakeholder group in the delivery of health care and key health informants and decision makers within the global health care arena.
Staff who work in the health service are now recognized as a high-risk group for assault in the workplace. Recently, professional and industrial organizations have begun to suggest appropriate curricula for training staff in aggression management. However, there is currently a plethora of aggression management training programs (AMP) available, varying both in content and in duration. In this paper, 28 programs were evaluated against 13 major content areas derived from the recommendations made from key professional and industrial organizations, and what may be today considered appropriate/ideal content areas for AMP. Information on programs available in English was sought via standard databases, the Internet, program providers, and through networking with colleagues and professional organizations. The majority of the programs reviewed covered personal safety issues for staff and patients, together with legal issues. The use of restraint, pharmacological management of aggression and seclusion were features of programs specifically addressing the needs of health care staff in mental health settings. Most programs appeared not to address the psychological and organizational costs associated with aggression in the workplace. This is surprising since the literature suggests that the effects of violence are wide and varied, including increased absenteeism and sick leave, property damage, decreased productivity, security costs, litigation, workers' compensation, reduced job satisfaction together with recruitment and retention issues. Also, few programs were based on a systematic evaluation of their outcomes. Suggestions for program development and their teaching are discussed.
Mental illnesses constitute a major burden of disease in Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders (hereafter Aboriginal Australians), who are also overrepresented in the prison system. A legacy of colonization compounds such prevalence, and is further exacerbated by the persistence of racial discrimination and insensitivity across many sectors, including health. This research completed in a Western Australian forensic mental health setting identifies non-Aboriginal health professionals' support needs to deliver high-quality, culturally-safe care to Aboriginal patients. Data were collected from health professionals using an online survey and 10 semistructured interviews. Survey and interview results found that ongoing education was needed for staff to provide culturally-safe care, where Aboriginal knowledge, beliefs, and values were respected. The findings also support previous research linking Aboriginal health providers to improved health outcomes for Aboriginal patients. In a colonized country, such as Australia, education programmes that critically reflect on power relations privileging white Anglo-Australian cultural dominance and subjugating Aboriginal knowledge, beliefs, and values are important to identify factors promoting or compromising the care of Aboriginal patients and developing a deeper understanding of 'cultural safety' and its clinical application. Organizational commitment is needed to translate the findings to support non-Aboriginal health professionals deliver high-quality care to Aboriginal patients that is respectful of cultural differences.
This paper describes the perceptions of Aboriginal stakeholders as well as mental health personnel on improving Aboriginal men's access to mental health services. From January 2009 to June 2010, 23 semi-structured interviews and three focus groups were conducted with 17 Aboriginal stakeholders and 29 mental health staff from a regional mental health service in Victoria. A qualitative description design was adopted and data were analysed thematically. Seven themes emerged from the data. Three themes focused on the mismatch between mainstream mental health service provision and the mental health needs of Aboriginal men. They include barriers to gaining entry into services, barriers to engagement with services, and staffing problems in the services. The remaining four themes related to possible solutions to improving men's access to services and included building men's confidence in services, developing relationships with the Aboriginal Community, enhancing flexibility of services, and strengthening the role of the Koori Mental Health Liaison Officer. The dual perspectives of Aboriginal stakeholders and service providers provide a more comprehensive picture of the ground realities concerning Aboriginal men's access to mental health services. The findings have implications for the provision of culturally sensitive mental health services for Aboriginal men.
Absconding is increasingly being recognized as a problem within mental health settings with significant risks for consumers. This study examines absconding behaviours across three acute care wards within an Australian psychiatric hospital campus over a 12-month period. A descriptive statistical analysis determined the rate of absconding from 49 consumers who absconded 64 times. The absconding rate was 13.33% (absconding events), with most absconding events arising from males diagnosed with schizophrenia (57.14%) aged between 20 and 29 years, and with 62.50% of absconding events occurring whilst consumers were on their first 21-day detention order. Nearly half of all absconding events were by consumers who had absconded previously, with the highest proportion of events occurring during nursing handover. A profile of people who abscond, time of day of absconding, legal status and repeated absconding behaviours are described. The emergent profile of consumers who absconded within this study bears some similarities to that described in overseas research, although in this study consumers were slightly older and 25% of absconders were female. Of particular interest are findings that identify the timings of absconding events in relation to a consumer's legal status. Implications for practice, including assessment of risk of absconding and management, are considered.
Patients regularly abscond from mental health units and at times the consequences for patients and for others can be serious. The police are involved with absconding events, but are rarely considered in the mental health literature. In most jurisdictions, the police can take missing person reports for involuntary patients whose whereabouts are unknown and there are genuine concerns for their safety or welfare. Those people remain active cases for the police until located. This paper presents extracts of 25 police officers' narratives from a qualitative research project. Officers viewed absconding as a regular event, and workload burden that was exacerbated when mental health staff rarely initiated any search for the absconded patient and abdicated responsibility too quickly to the police. The officers were concerned about communication with mental health services and reported that information about the absconded patient could be inadequate or not given to police, and police often were not informed when the patient was found or discharged. Improved liaison and cooperative working that promote effective communication could strengthen police and mental health nursing collaboration and ensure better outcomes for patients.
Absconding from acute psychiatric inpatient units is a significant issue with serious social, economic, and emotional costs. A qualitative study was undertaken to explore the experiences of people (n = 12) who had been held involuntarily under the local mental health act in an Australian inpatient psychiatric unit, and who had absconded (or attempted to abscond) during this time. The aim of the study was to explore why people abscond from psychiatric inpatient units, drawing on published work from health geography on the significance of the person-place encounter, and in particular the concept of 'therapeutic landscapes'. The findings show that the inpatient unit is perceived as a safe or unsafe place, dependent on the dialectical relationship between the physical, individual, social, and symbolic aspects of the unit. Consumers absconded when the unit was perceived as unsafe. Forming a therapeutic relationship with staff, familiarity with the unit, a comfortable environment, and positive experiences with other consumers all supported perceptions that the unit was safe, decreasing the likelihood of absconding. Findings extend existing work on the person-place encounter within psychiatric inpatient units, and bring new knowledge about the reasons why consumers abscond. Implications for practice are discussed.
Absconding from psychiatric institutions is a relatively common phenomenon. Yet patients' experience of absconding is a perspective that has received little attention in the West and none in Indonesia. A case study using mixed methods was undertaken in order to provide a profile of absconding events over a 1-year period in a psychiatric setting in Indonesia. In the qualitative phase of the study, in a semistructured interview, 16 patients who absconded described their experiences of absconding. Three themes of experience were identified: the call to home, hopes and realities, and us and them. The call to home theme described patients' eagerness to connect with family and others and to feel safe. Hopes and realities identified patients' hopes for happiness, which were dashed by the realities of life at home and in the hospital. The final theme, us and them, described the competing interests and different opinions of patients in relation to others including hospital staff and family. There is a need for changes to mental health policy and service provision in order to reduce the incidence of absconding in Indonesia and enable patients and their families to receive adequate support while living in the community.
From the author's experience in reviewing abstracts for conference presentations, nurses do not find it easy or straightforward to write an abstract, nor do they appear to fully understand its aim and purpose. The aim of this paper is to provide a clear understanding of the role of the abstract in the context of conference presentations and to provide a practical tool to guide nurses through the process of writing an abstract for a conference presentation in terms of both the structure and the content. Tips on what to avoid when writing an abstract are included.
A large volume of literature exists on childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and nursing literature on this topic continues to develop. However, discussion of boundaries in relation to intrafamilial childhood sexual abuse (ICSA) and to its significance in terms of personal space boundary (PSB) violation, is lacking. This is important, as PSB violation creates difficulties for adult survivors of ICSA and for nurses who care for these people as clients. As all experiences of CSA cannot be addressed, discussion focuses on women who are clients of mental health services and who have experienced ICSA. Using Scott's work on boundaries and her diagrammatic conceptualization of PSBs, links are created between ICSA boundary violation, resultant PSB regulation difficulties and principles to guide nursing practice. Discussion centres on understanding the need for PSB restoration in women-client survivors of ICSA.
The aims of the study were to investigate the prevalence of adult abuse in female users of psychiatric care, the relationship between abuse and self-esteem and self-reported consequences of abuse, and women's self-reported needs of support. A total of 1382 women participated in the study. A self-administrated anonymous questionnaire with both closed-ended and open-ended questions was used. Quantitative data were analysed by mainly descriptive statistics and qualitative data were analysed by content analysis. Forty-six per cent (n = 638) of the women had been exposed to emotional, sexual, and/or physical abuse in adulthood. Twenty-eight per cent (n = 385) reported experiences of moderate physical abuse, 27% (n = 373) reported threats of injury, and 20% (n = 277) reported threats of being killed. Further, 19% (n = 261) reported experience of sexual violence, and 12% (n = 164) had experiences of serious physical violence. Women who had been abused rated lower self-esteem than those who were not abused. Self-reported consequences of abuse included intrapersonal problems such as poor self-esteem, fears, anxiety, and worries but also problems in social relations especially with regard to close relationships and reliance to others. To a lesser extent, disease-specific manifestations were reported. The needs of support included interventions directed to the experiences of abuse by professionals trained in the area, family interventions, self-help groups, medical care, legal support, or practical help to find new housing situations. It is concluded that female users of psychiatric care services constitute a vulnerable group with regard to abuse. To meet the women's needs, the care system has to adopt a perspective that includes personal, social, and societal factors.
This study explored explanatory models used by individuals with schizophrenia in relation to continuing cannabis abuse. Cannabis is known to exacerbate positive symptoms, compound the effects of negative symptoms, and lead to relapse, having a negative effect upon quality of life. If this is so, why would people choose to continue the drug use? Most previous studies exploring this phenomenon have used quantitative methodology where the questions asked have been preset by the researchers and the subjective experience of the patient has been minimized. Qualitative methodology was utilized in this study in order to give voice to the patients' perspectives, and contribute to the knowledge of the frameworks of meanings employed by patients. The majority of participants in this study did not perceive that they had a mental illness and they held strong beliefs regarding the usefulness of cannabis. They gave explanations for their continuing cannabis use that expanded the understanding from previous studies. These included that they sought the drug effects of cannabis use for clarity of voices, control of symptoms, to feel normal, perceived improvement in cognitive function, reduced psychological pain and increased energy. These beliefs may influence a person's adherence with treatment and their future cannabis use. This research has implications for clinical practice as clinicians may lack insight into the importance of the phenomenological beliefs of a person with schizophrenia. This lack of insight by the clinician into the phenomenological beliefs may impact on the development of a therapeutic relationship.
Drug or substance abuse by adolescents continues to have a major impact on the health and well-being of young people and poses a serious management problem for health workers. While the majority of the problems surrounding adolescent substance abuse rest on the parents, little is actually known about their experiences. This study aimed to describe and construct an interpretation of the lived experiences of parenting an adolescent who abuses illicit substances. A qualitative approach, underpinned by the tenets of phenomenology, was used to conduct in-depth interviews with 18 parents. Thematic analysis revealed eight themes: confronting the lies, deceit, and suspicion; struggling to set limits; dealing with the consequences; living with the blame and the shame; trying to keep the child safe; grieving the child that was; living with the guilt; and choosing self-preservation. The results indicate that parents struggle to manage the problem, are left to deal with the consequences of the behaviour with little support, and are constantly looking for answers to the questions raised by the problem.
Drug use and abuse carries risk in people of all ages. However, adolescents are particularly vulnerable to substance misuse. Adolescent drug use continues to be an area of concern with a number of adolescents developing problems associated with the use of various drugs. Negative sequelae associated with adolescent drug use include areas such as schooling, health, and family relationships. Difficulties with the legal system, schooling, or within the family are commonly the triggers for recognition of substance misuse problems in a young person. However, problems are usually well-established before they are recognized. The challenge of dealing with these problems will fall on families, particularly parents. This is a crisis for families, and ongoing support is needed if they are to overcome the challenges. Health workers (including nurses) are well-positioned to support families who are dealing with adolescent drug problems. In this paper we propose the adoption of a strengths approach as a strategy for developing resilience in families.
The files of 200 users of a community mental health centre revealed that 46% of the files contained documentation of sexual or physical abuse as children or adults. Only 36% of summary formulations and 33% of treatment plans for the abused clients mentioned the abuse. Only 22% of the abused clients received abuse-focused therapy. Response rates were lower for clients who were male or had a schizophrenia spectrum diagnosis, and if the clinician was male or a psychiatrist. None of the alleged crimes, past, recent or ongoing, was reported to legal authorities. Development of unit policies and training programmes to ensure appropriate response to abuse histories is recommended.
The aim of this study was to compare the domains of intellectual, memory and executive functions of persons with schizophrenia who concurrently have substance abuse disorders (the dually diagnosed) with a group of non-substance-abusing patients with schizophrenia and to ascertain if there were differences between the two groups in their perceptions of quality of life. Neuropsychological and quality of life data of 46 dually diagnosed and 43 non-substance-abusing patients with schizophrenia was analysed retrospectively. All subjects were inpatients of a state psychiatric hospital. Selected subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III and the Wechsler Memory Scale-III constituted the intellectual and memory measures whilst the measures of executive functioning were the Stroop Color Word Test, the FAS version of the Controlled Oral Word Association Test, and the Trail Making Test (Trails A & B). Perceptions of quality of life were evaluated using the World Health Organization Quality of Life measure. The two groups did not differentiate on intellectual and memory domains, however, the dually diagnosed showed a significantly better facility with tasks of executive functions. In addition, the dually diagnosed expressed higher levels of satisfaction with their quality of life compared to the non-substance-abusing patients with schizophrenia. These results have implications for interventions.
Consumer participation in health care is increasingly becoming an expectation of health services. While important progress has been made in the mental health area, the attitudes of mental health professionals towards consumers poses a severe limitation. Greater consumer involvement in the education of mental health professionals has been presented as a strategy to encourage the development of a greater acceptance of consumer involvement by health professionals. A consumer academic position has been introduced into the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing Research and Practice. An important aspect of this role concerns the education of postgraduate psychiatric/mental health nursing students, in order to provide a consumer perspective and encourage greater consumer participation. In order to determine the impact of this project a questionnaire was developed by the authors to measure attitudes to consumer participation and the role of the consumer academic. This paper presents the first stage of this study. The questionnaire was administered to students (n = 25) on the first day of the course. The findings suggest that most students favour a high level of consumer participation but that this is limited to specific areas of treatment planning and delivery. Furthermore, the students' demonstrate some level of ambivalence regarding the value and necessity of the consumer academic role.
There is ongoing concern among mental health professionals regarding the recruitment of newly graduated nurses to this specialist nursing area. Many reasons for the problem have been identified, including the perceived inadequate preparation by the tertiary sector, students' prejudices and anxieties about mental illness, a perceived lack of support while undertaking clinical placement, and the quality of the clinical placement itself. This paper describes a collaborative response to these issues undertaken in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. The implementation of preclinical undergraduate workshops using problem-based learning and role plays were undertaken. Mental health nursing scenarios were developed in association with experienced clinicians to introduce core concepts in a supportive learning environment. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation data were collected immediately following the workshop and again after the students returned to the university following a mental health clinical placement. A further survey of one cohort was undertaken 12 months after initial state registration and the beginning of a career in mental health nursing. Results showed that both students' and clinicians' attitudes to the workshops were consistently positive and indicated that the workshops were beneficial in preparing students for their clinical placement. Importantly, since the implementation of the workshops and other collaborative initiatives, an increasing number of newly graduated nurses from the region are choosing to work in mental health.
There is disagreement among psychiatric professionals about whether the doors of acute psychiatric wards should be kept locked to prevent patients from leaving and harming themselves or others. This study explored patient, staff, and visitor perceptions about the acceptability of locking the ward door on acute psychiatric inpatient wards. Interviews were conducted with 14 registered nurses, 15 patients, and six visitors from three different acute wards. Findings revealed commonalities across all groups, with general agreement that locking the door reduced absconding. Staff expressed feelings of guilt, embarrassment, and fear of being blamed when a patient absconded. Staff also reported that open wards created anxious vigilance to prevent an abscond and increased workload in allocating staff to watch the door, whereas staff on partially-locked doors also perceived an increased workload in letting people in and out of the ward. Patients had mixed feelings about the status of the door, expressing depression, a sense of stigma, and low self-esteem when the door was locked. The issue of balancing safety and security on acute psychiatric wards against the autonomy of patients is not easily resolved, and requires focused research to develop innovative nursing practices.
Clients and caregivers frequently encounter difficulties in accessing mental health services. Early intervention to care and treatment is essential to recovery as delays can adversely affect the severity and the duration of the illness. This paper reports the factors that encouraged and deterred young adults with schizophrenia and their caregivers when trying to seek early access to community mental health services, and examines how community mental health nurses made themselves accessible to these individuals in order to increase their access to services. The findings showed that several factors simultaneously encouraged and inhibited individuals initiating contact at community mental health centres, and these had serious implications for care and treatment, and recovery. There were two client access pathways to care: a direct access pathway where an individual recognized signs of being unwell and sought help early; and an indirect access pathway where others, such as caregivers, general practitioners, police, and inpatient facilities initiated contact on an individual's behalf. Nurses used three strategies to enhance client and caregiver access to services: 'promoting favourable experiences to enhance approachability', 'using technology to promote access' and 'being available'. The findings have significance for nursing practice because they reinforce the importance of having good relationships with clients and caregivers, and the need to take account of the needs of caregivers. They highlight the benefits and drawbacks of using telecommunications to enhance accessibility, and why it is necessary to analyse nurses' workloads and time management skills.
The present study aims to review the quality of open-access nursing journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals that published papers in 2013 with a nursing focus, written in English, and were freely accessible. Each journal was reviewed in relation to their publisher, year of commencement, number of papers published in 2013, fee for publication, indexing, impact factor, and evidence of requirements for ethics and disclosure statements. The quality of the journals was assessed by impact factors and the requirements for indexing in PubMed. A total of 552 were published in 2013 in the 19 open-access nursing journals that met the inclusion criteria. No journals had impact factors listed in Web of Knowledge, but three had low Scopus impact factors. Only five journals were indexed with PubMed. The quality of the 19 journals included in the review was evaluated as inferior to most subscription-fee journals. Mental health nursing has some responsibility to the general public, and in particular, consumers of mental health services and their families, for the quality of papers published in open-access journals. The way forward might involve dual-platform publication or a process that enables assessment of how research has improved clinical outcomes.
Under The Nurses Amendment (Nurse Practitioners) Act 1998, New South Wales became the first state in Australia to legislate for nurse practitioners. Mental health was identified as a priority 'area of practice' for nurse practitioners. Issues surrounding the implementation of the nurse practitioner role in Australia and the potential for the role to address the current crisis in mental health nursing and the mental health sector will be discussed. The potential for partnerships with other health-care providers, in particular medical practitioners, will demonstrate how successful implementation of the role can fulfil consumer demand for primary prevention counselling, improve access to mental health services and early intervention, and provide mental health services that better reflect national priorities. This examination of the Australian context will be contrasted with a review of the overseas literature on mental health nurse practitioners.
This paper presents the findings of a qualitative study to identify factors that influence Asian communities' access to mental health care and how mental health care is delivered to them. Semistructured interviews were completed with Asian community members/leaders and health-care professionals. Content analysis identified major themes. Participants also completed a demographic data sheet. The research aimed to provide health professionals with an increased understanding of the values and beliefs held by people from Asian communities regarding the cause and treatment of mental illness. Data analysis identified six main themes that influenced Asian communities' access to mental health care and how mental health care is delivered to them. They were: shame and stigma; causes of mental illness; family reputation; hiding up; seeking help; and lack of collaboration. The findings highlighted that people from Asian communities are unwilling to access help from mainstream services because of their beliefs, and that stigma and shame are key factors that influence this reluctance. The findings also highlight that the mental health needs of refugee women are significant, and that they comprise a vulnerable group within Australian society.
International studies consistently demonstrate that individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness (SMI) have an increased risk of co-morbid physical health problems and premature death. During the past decade, government policy in the UK has focused on improving the physical health of those with SMI. Despite this, international research has continued to report barriers to accessing appropriate services. These have been identified as emanating from service users and professionals alike, and also from institutional bureaucracy. Most of this research has reported difficulties from the perspective of various professional groups, with little attention being paid to the service user voice. Studies from the service user perspective undertaken in the past 10 years equate to six qualitative and three quantitative studies, and it appears that poor physical health care remains a problem in the developed world. The quality of this care is compromised by practical problems and interpersonal difficulties between service users and health-care providers and between providers of mental health services and those providing physical health care. This paper presents a review of the nine international studies and discusses the implications for developing policy and practices that could lead to improved physical health-care services for people experiencing SMI.
Within acute mental health settings, pro re nata (p.r.n.) 'as required' medication is a widely used adjunct to regular treatment plans, and is administered at the discretion of a registered nurse. However, there is concern that some orders may benefit staff more than patients by providing a 'quick fix' to compensate for inadequate therapeutic programmes. Previous authors assert that p.r.n. medication administration should not be the first line of action, but should be used when other less invasive interventions such as de-escalation, talking, or separation from the group are unsuccessful. This project explored the occurrence of p.r.n. medication administration and the type of alternative therapeutic interventions that are documented as accompanying its administration. A retrospective 1-month chart audit was undertaken for a cohort of inpatients in a 20-bed mental health facility attached to a regional hospital in New South Wales, Australia. Forty-seven patients (73.4%) received p.r.n. medication at least once, with a total of 309 doses of p.r.n. medication administered during this time. There were wide variations in the documented rationales, and for nearly three-quarters (73%) of p.r.n. medication administrations, no other therapeutic intervention was documented as occurring prior to administration.
The provision of sound support models for clinical practicum is recognized as integral to the development of nursing students and their transition to registered nurses. In mental health settings, there is the additional issue of positively influencing recruitment rates. Preceptorship has been widely adopted nationally and internationally, however, there is a paucity of research, particularly in mental health settings, to assess its effectiveness. The current study utilized a grounded theory approach to explore the experience of preceptorship for mental health nurses. The findings suggest that mental health nurses seek to accomplish connectedness in the preceptorship relationship. A number of factors inhibit the degree of success in achieving this connectedness, including fear of mental health settings, misconceptions about mental illness and organizational constraints.
This paper examines community mental health in rural and remote settings, characterized as sole practice. Using a grounded theory approach, the research reported here explored how meanings of health and health care are advanced within the context of rural mental health care, dominated and in the main led by nurses. Five different practice sites in rural New South Wales were involved. The study articulated a model of therapeutics that foregrounds a relationship of intense professional intimacy and trust against a context of geographical disadvantage and professional isolation. The meanings of the relationship are elaborated in terms of unusually high levels of responsibility, professional ingenuity, powerlessness and the independent and risky character of life in the bush.
A number of recent, highly-publicized, perceived health-care service failures have raised concerns about health professionals' accountabilities. Relevant to these concerns, the present study sought to examine how mental health nurses understood clinical responsibility and its impact on their practice. A descriptive, qualitative design was used, and a convenience sample of 10 mental health nurses was recruited from specialist inpatient and outpatient mental health settings in Canterbury, New Zealand. Data were collected using semistructured interviews, and the transcriptions were analysed using an inductive, descriptive approach. Three major themes were identified: being accountable, fostering patient responsibility, and shifting responsibility. Being accountable involved weighing up patients' therapeutic needs against the potential for blame in an organizational culture of risk management. Fostering patient responsibility described the process of deciding in what situations patients could take responsibility for their behaviour. Shifting responsibility described the culture of defensive practice fostered by the organizational culture of risk aversion. The present study highlighted the challenges mental health nurses experience in relation to clinical responsibility in practice, including the balancing required between the needs of patients, the needs of the organization, and the perceived need for self-protection.
Recent advancements in risk assessment have led to the development of dynamic risk-assessment measures that are predictive of inpatient aggression in the short term. However, there are several areas within this field that warrant further empirical investigation, including whether the average, maximum, or most recent risk state assessment is the most valid for predicting subsequent aggression in the medium term. This prospective study compared the predictive validity of three indices (i.e. mean score, peak score, and most recent single time-point rating) of the Dynamic Appraisal of Situational Aggression (DASA) for inpatient aggression. Daily risk ratings were completed for 60 psychiatric inpatients (from the acute wards of a forensic psychiatric hospital) for up to 6 months; a total of 1054 DASA ratings were obtained. Results showed that mean and peak scores on the DASA were better predictors of interpersonal violence, verbal threat, and any inpatient aggression than the DASA single time-point most recent ratings. Overall, the results support the use of the prior week's mean and peak scores to aid the prediction of inpatient aggression within inpatient forensic psychiatric settings in the short to medium term. These results also have practical implications for clinicians considering risk-management strategies and the scoring of clinically-relevant items on risk-assessment measures.
Understanding mental health nursing's past is an important way to preserve our cultural heritage. By exploring and then disseminating the insights gained through examination of the past, students and practicing mental health nurses may become more aware of the social and intellectual origins of the profession. They may also have their professional connections and commitment to mental health nursing clarified and reconfirmed. This paper presents the results of a survey conducted in Queensland in 2009. Members of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses were invited to identify mental health nurses who they perceived had made a noteworthy contribution to the profession. Twenty mental health nurses were identified from the 38 surveys received. The reasons underlying the nominations revealed two main themes: achievements and qualities. Achievements included the subthemes: practice pioneer; career longevity; and far reach of influence. Qualities included: inspirational role model; and passion, dedication and/or commitment. The study provides a beginning conversation on the preservation of heritage and recommends deeper exploration of the history of mental health nursing within Australia, and specifically Queensland.
In acute mental health inpatient units, it is not surprising that culture, peers, immediate management, and sources of support and acknowledgment all contribute to positive nursing outcomes. In this qualitative study, four questions targeting leadership, culture, support, and acknowledgement of work well done were asked of 40 registered nurses (RN) working in acute mental health units. Findings convey a mixed picture indicating variation across units. Three-quarters believe that senior nursing staff actively contribute to a positive working environment. Almost half of the RN nominated peers as the providers of counsel and support when required, and a similar percentage believed that senior nursing staff fulfil these roles. Of interviewees, 33% said their nursing achievements are never, or rarely, acknowledged. For these RN, management, peers, and nurse unit managers are the preferred personnel to provide appropriate positive feedback. Thus, there is a gap between the expectations and hopes that nurses have for senior management approaches and behaviours and the reality of their daily experience. Overall, the responses portray a culture that underpins and enables both subtle interpersonal interactions that might arise out of necessity given the perceived lack of support from non-hands-on RN and administrators.
Total pre-and post-evaluation mean (standard deviation), paired t (significance P) and effect size scores for the INTACT knowledge evaluation by participant occupation Occupation No. Pre-evaluation mean (SD) Post-evaluation mean (SD) Paired t (Significance P) Effect size
Aggression management training has become mandatory for mental health staff in New South Wales, Australia. This study explores the differential effects of knowledge acquisition following a 2-day intensive training program for 103 mental health staff comprising three groups: (i) nurses, (ii) allied and medical staff, and (iii) ancillary staff. All occupations had significant knowledge gains following training, although knowledge acquisition was less for staff with prior training than for those without. Results suggest previously trained staff would be better suited to shorter, more frequent, on ward skills-based refresher training.
Retention and recruitment of the mental health nursing workforce is a critical issue in Australia and more specifically in Western Australia (WA), partly due to the isolation of the state. It has been suggested that these workforce issues might be minimized through the introduction of clinical supervision within WA mental health services, where, historically, it has been misunderstood and viewed with caution by mental health nurses. This may have been partly due to a lack of understanding of clinical supervision, its models, and its many benefits, due to a paucity of information delivered into initial nurse education programs. The aim of this pilot project is to explore and evaluate the introduction of clinical supervision in WA public mental health services. A quantitative approach informed the study and included the use of an information gathering survey initially, which was followed with evaluation questionnaires. The findings show that education can increase the uptake of clinical supervision. Further, the findings illustrate the importance of linking clinicians from all professional groups via a clinical supervision web-based database.
Deliberate self-harm predominantly occurs in women under the age of 30 years. This qualitative case study using feminist methods explored the experiences of three women who each had a long history of self-harming behaviour. Psychoanalytical concepts are used to explore the meaning of the conflicts that these women experience. Emergent themes include: great expectations, I speak but no one hears, sexual naivety meets sexual violence, and redrawing the sexual map. This thematic analysis helps facilitate an insight into what these women are trying to communicate, and provides guidance for mental health professionals to more effectively respond to the challenges of working with women who self-harm.
The aim of the present study was to explore how patients experience living with long-acting depot antipsychotics given by injection. An interpretive perspective and a qualitative content analysis guided the research process and data analysis. Findings indicate that the participants understood dependency on depot treatment, as a 'safety-net' protecting from relapses and re-hospitalizations. More 'normal lives' became possible despite continuing distress from untoward effects. Participants also expressed favourable attitudes when they suffered from disabling side-effects or when they were committed to psychiatric treatment. Adherence to treatment was understood as crucial for recovering. The recovery process, related to depot treatment, was described as mainly based on the participants' experiential knowledge. This implies the need for exploring, in communication with patients, different kinds of support that might benefit their recovery.
Implementation has been observed to be crucial to the successful introduction of clinical supervision. Despite its importance, there is limited literature which articulates principles or process to guide it. The first and second parts of this three-part paper present findings of a qualitative exploration of the implementation of clinical supervision in a rural mental health service. The findings were discussed in light of the Driscoll model of implementation. While this model provided a valuable tool to interpret some aspects of the findings, its focus was primarily on the preimplementation stage, particularly in terms of assessing the workplace culture and the recognition of the pushing and resisting forces in relation to clinical supervision. This paper presents a new model of implementation with interrelated and dynamic stages. The model was developed in a rural mental health service context. An overview of this research-based model is presented in this paper.
The present study describes participants' perspectives of the meaning of recovery-oriented care in developing services for people with psychosocial disability associated with mental illness. Participants were involved in a 12-month cooperative inquiry action-research group from August 2012 to July 2013, with six consumers, four clinicians, and a carer. A major finding was the importance of the facilitation of dialogue that acknowledged the asymmetrical power differences between participants. Thematically-analysed data identified an overarching global theme: 'I want services to hear me'. The theme reflected a shared view that participation is important in service development. Actions included mapping the integration of consumer participation within a mental health service and developing workshops to support change. Addressing the asymmetrical power relationship inherent in traditional mental health design is important. Using participatory processes, structural discrimination is revealed, and tensions associated with clinical mental health services and psychiatric practice can be discussed. A partnership approach to service development enables the social determinants of health to be addressed more effectively, as well as supporting individual recovery. These approaches create the potential for genuine transformational change. Approaches that support coproduction and codesign have the potential to enable solutions.
Clinical supervision (CS) has been found to be beneficial in the role development of nurses and can contribute to increased job satisfaction and reduced burnout. However, implementing CS can be resource intensive, and there are few accounts of it being implemented in developing countries. Ten psychiatric nurses in Trinidad engaged in an action research project over a 5-month period to develop, implement, and undertake an initial evaluation of a model of peer-group CS for use in routine practice. The participants were involved in undertaking peer-group CS and contributing to monthly focus groups to reflect on the practices and further refine the model. This inexpensive form of CS was perceived by participants to have positive effects on the way they viewed and practiced nursing. An outline of the model and initial evaluation is presented, but further research is necessary to establish the sustainability of the model in practice.
Approximately 16% of consumers are secluded during an inpatient admission. Despite the harmful psychological consequences resulting from the use of physical force, restraint, control, and temporary sequestration of therapeutic communication, there is little evidence of nursing practices to support consumers who are secluded. This paper will outline the findings from an action research project examining post-seclusion debriefing practice. A series of focus groups was undertaken with mental health nurses (MHN) and consumer consultants (CC) to investigate current practice, identify consumer/clinician preferences, and scope future practice possibilities. The findings suggest that CC need assistance in dealing with the negative feelings evoked by seclusion. MHN use a range of approaches for debriefing; however, these sometimes do not meet consumer preferences. MHN focus on explaining why seclusion happened and how to avoid it. While mitigation is a critical issue, CC want more emotional support from debriefing. MHN saw the possibility of using the debriefing to support consumers' transit from seclusion to high-dependency status and then to low-dependency status. Opinions raised regarding the potential for CC to have a role in debriefing were divided. The findings will be used to inform the development of a consumer debriefing training program for MHN and CC.
Top-cited authors
Brenda Happell
  • Southern Cross University
Chris Quinn
  • Forensicare
Duncan Stewart
  • London Metropolitan University
David Scott
  • Deakin University
Brian McKenna
  • Auckland University of Technology