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Keywords:

  • clinical psychology;
  • evidence base;
  • interprofessional education;
  • mental health;
  • nursing

Aim  To explore interprofessional attitudes arising from shared learning in mental health.

Background  Inter-professional education in healthcare is a priority area for improving team-working and communication. Many studies have attempted to evaluate its benefits and challenges, although few emanate from the mental health arena. However, producing evidence to link educational input with clinical outcomes is notoriously difficult. This project attempted to produce evidence for changes in interprofessional attitudes and stereotypes.

Method(s)  Mental health nursing students and clinical psychology trainees participated in inter-professional education. An evaluation tool was designed to evaluate the experience and outcomes, and to consider implications for interprofessional working.

Results  There was an increase in clarity regarding roles, approaches and resources, and how to collaborate in practice. There was no significant change in professional identity. Many challenges were identified, including differences in academic level, previous experience, expectations, assessment, motivation and effort.

Conclusion  Despite the challenges, it remains important to offer collaboration with future mental health colleagues as a foundation for effective team-working. Recommendations are made for creating inter-professional education opportunities for diverse student groups.

Implications for Nursing Management  Mental health professionals need to work effectively in multidisciplinary teams. Drawing on available guidance, managers should encourage and support team members to undertake shared learning where possible, both within clinical settings and through more formal educational provision. In this way, managers can facilitate collaborative relationships which will pay dividends for the provision of effective mental health care. This project adds to the limited knowledge currently available on interprofessional learning and attitudes within a mental health context.