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Evaluation of a transition to practice programme for mental health nursing

Authors

  • Michelle Cleary,

    1. Michelle Cleary PhD RN Clinical Nurse Consultant Research Unit, Sydney South West Area Mental Health Service, Australia
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  • Sandra Matheson,

    1. Sandra Matheson BSc (Hons, Psych) Research Officer Research Unit, Sydney South West Area Mental Health Service, Australia
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  • Brenda Happell

    1. Brenda Happell PhD RN Professor/Coordinator Contemporary Nursing and Mental & Psychosocial Health, CQU Healthy Communities, Department of Health Innovation, Central Queensland University, Australia
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M. Cleary:
e-mail: michelle.cleary@email.cs.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

Title. Evaluation of a transition to practice programme for mental health nursing.

Aim. This paper is a report of a study assessing nurses’ satisfaction with a 12-month transition to practice programme into mental health nursing and its impact on their perceived knowledge, confidence and self-concept.

Background.  Transition to practice programmes are necessary to facilitate graduate nurses’ professional adjustment into nursing and experienced nurses’ movement from one clinical setting or speciality to another. Role transition can be a difficult process, and those who have realistic expectations may experience less stress during the actual transition.

Method. A quantitative evaluation design carried out in Australia, using questionnaires for data collection. The study began in 2005 and the participants were three groups (n = 45) of Registered Nurses who all completed the programme during 2006 and 2007.

Findings. Forty-four nurses (98%) completed pre- and postprogramme surveys. There was a relatively high level of satisfaction with the programme. Most participants found all aspects of the programme to be substantially positive, with the majority intending to continue to work in mental health nursing at programme completion. Data concerning knowledge of and confidence in undertaking a number of nursing tasks showed statistically significant gains postprogramme for most items. No differences were found in The Nurses’ Self-Concept Questionnaire scores between pre- and post-test phases, apart from a trend towards improved communication and caring.

Conclusion. Transition programmes have the potential to make a positive contribution to the mental health nursing workforce. Continuing professional development opportunities are essential to ensure that skill development is maintained. Future longitudinal research could ascertain the benefits of the programme on staff retention.

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