Get access

Australian Mental Health Nurses’ Attitudes to Role Expansion

Authors

  • Stephen Elsom RN, MHN, BA, MN, PhD,

    1. Centre for Psychiatric Nursing, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Brenda Happell RN, Cert Psych Nurs, BA (Hons), DipEd, Bed, Med, PhD,

    1. Department of Health Innovation, Central Queensland University, and Centre for Social Science Research, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Elizabeth Manias RN, Cert Crit Care, BPharm, MPharm, M Nurs Stud, PhD

    1. School of Nursing and Social Work, University of Melbourne, Carlton, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

  • 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.

Author contact: sjelsom@unimelb.edu.au, with a copy to the Editor: pearsong@psychiatry.uchc.edu

Abstract

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.

Ancillary