Role of the mental health nurse towards physical health care in serious mental illness: An integrative review of 10 years of UK Literature


  • Jeanette Blythe, RMN, BSc (Hons).

  • Jacquie White, RMN, BSc (Hons), PG Cert.

  • Author contributions: JB was involved in the study design, the data collection and analysis, and the writing of the article, and JW helped to prepare and edit the document for publication.

Jeanette Blythe, Weelsby View Health Centre, Ladysmith Road, Grimsby, DN32 9SH, UK. Email:;


People with serious mental illness have significantly poorer physical health compared to the general population. Mental health nurses are in a prime position to help reduce unacceptable death in this population. A literature search was undertaken to identify the role of the mental health nurse in regards to physical health care, intervention, and attaining the necessary knowledge to address the physical health needs of people in the UK with serious mental illness. Of 254 papers identified, nine met the inclusion criteria. An integrative literature review found that mental health nurses are not routinely supported by physical health-care education and training, with many expressing role ambiguity. Inpatient setting correlated to a less positive role attitude; poor primary–secondary care interface communication compounded the problem of this vulnerable population having their physical health needs identified and met.