Stephen Elsom, RN, MHN, BA, MN, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Director, Centre for Psychiatric Nursing, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia; Brenda Happell, RN, Cert Psych Nurs, BA (Hons), DipEd, BEd, MEd, PhD, is a Professor of Contemporary Nursing, Department of Health Innovation, Central Queensland University, and Centre for Social Science Research, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia; and Elizabeth Manias, RN, Cert Crit Care, BPharm, MPharm, M Nurs Stud, PhD, is Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing and Social Work, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia.
Australian Mental Health Nurses’ Attitudes to Role Expansion
Article first published online: 1 APR 2009
© 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc
Perspectives in Psychiatric Care
Volume 45, Issue 2, pages 100–107, April 2009
How to Cite
Elsom, S., Happell, B. and Manias, E. (2009), Australian Mental Health Nurses’ Attitudes to Role Expansion. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 45: 100–107. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-6163.2009.00210.x
- Issue published online: 1 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 1 APR 2009
- First received April 7, 2008; Revision received July 9, 2008; Accepted for publication September 19, 2008.
- community mental health;
- expanded practice;
- 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.