Mental health nursing standards and practice indicators for Australia: a review of current literature

Neville, Christine, Eley, Diann, Quinn, John, Weir, Jim, Hegney, Desley G., Hangan, Catherine and Grasby, David (2006) Mental health nursing standards and practice indicators for Australia: a review of current literature Toowoomba Australia: The University of Southern Queensland

Author Neville, Christine
Eley, Diann
Quinn, John
Weir, Jim
Hegney, Desley G.
Hangan, Catherine
Grasby, David
Title of report Mental health nursing standards and practice indicators for Australia: a review of current literature
Publication date 2006
ISBN 0909756899
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Publisher The University of Southern Queensland
Place of publication Toowoomba Australia
Start page 1
End page 41
Total pages 41
Language eng
Subjects 321105 Mental Health Nursing
111005 Mental Health Nursing
730302 Nursing
Abstract/Summary There are many changes and challenges facing the mental health care professional working in Australia in the 21st Century. Given the significance of their number and the considerable extent to which care is delivered by them, mental health nurses in particular must be at the forefront of the movement to enhance and improve mental health care. Mental health nurses in Australia must not only keep up with the changes, we should be setting the pace for others across the profession worldwide. The increasingly complex field of mental health nursing demands nurses who are not only equipped to face the challenges but are confident in doing so. Definitive guidelines for practice, clear expectations regarding outcomes and specific means by which to evaluate both practice and outcomes are vital. Strengthening the role and vision of mental health nursing so that there is clarity about both and highlighting core values by which to perform will enable us to become focused on our future and what we can expect to both give to and receive from our chosen profession and how we can, and do, contribute to mental health care. The role of the mental health nurse is undergoing expansion and there are new hurdles to overcome along with the new benefits this brings. To support this, nationally adopted, formalised standards of practice and means by which to measure these, i.e., practice indicators formerly known as clinical indicators, are required. It is important to have national standards and practice indicators because of the variances in the provision of mental health across Australia – different legislation regarding mental health policies and processes, different nursing registration bodies and Nursing Councils, for example – which create additional barriers to cohesion and uniformity. Improvements in the practice of mental health nursing lead to benefits for consumer outcomes as well as the overall quality of mental health care available in Australia. The emphasis on rights-based care, particularly consumer and carer rights, demands evidence-based, up-to-date mental health care delivered by competent, capable professionals. Documented expectations for performance by nurses will provide all involved with yardsticks by which to evaluate outcomes. Flowing on from these benefits are advances in mental health care generally and enhancements to Australia’s reputation and position within the health care arena throughout the world. Currently, the ‘Standards for Practice’ published by the Australian New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses (ANZCMHN) in 1995 and the practice indicators developed by Skews et al. (2000) provide a less formal guide for mental health nurses working in Australia. While these earlier standards and practice indicators have played some role in supporting mental health nurses they have not been nationally or enthusiastically adopted and there are a multitude of reasons for this. This report reviews the current literature available on practice indicators and standards for practice and describes an evidence-based rationale as to why a review and renewal of these is required and why it is important, not just for mental health nurses but to the field of mental health in general. The term ‘practice indicator’ is used, except where a quotation utilises ‘clinical indicator’, to more accurately reflect the broad spectrum of nursing roles, i.e. not all mental health nursing work involves a clinical role.
Keyword mental health nursing
practice indicators

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Created: Mon, 18 Jun 2007, 15:08:07 EST by Erin Bowly on behalf of Rural Clinical School - South West Qld Region