• Attitudes;
  • community mental health;
  • expanded practice;
  • nursing;
  • scope of practice

PURPOSE.  This study examined the attitudes of Australian community mental health nurses toward role expansion.

DESIGN AND METHODS.   This study used an exploratory descriptive design. An anonymous questionnaire was completed by 154 community mental health nurses in metropolitan and rural areas to explore their attitudes to expanded practice.

FINDINGS.   Nurses demonstrated an overwhelmingly positive attitude toward expanded practice and considered all stakeholders, particularly consumers, would be the beneficiaries if nurses were legally able to undertake tasks such as prescribing medication.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS.   As a large proportion of the specialist mental health workforce, mental health nurses comprise a largely underutilized resource. With consumers identified as the primary beneficiaries of expanded practice, it is likely that nurses’ motivation to pursue expanded practice roles will assist in the provision of improved mental health care.