Experiences of a mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention training program targeted to school nurses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Nabeel Al-Yateem, Rachel Rossiter, Shameran Slewa-Younan, Syed Azizur Rahman, Muhammad Arsyad Subu, Jacqueline Maria Dias, Ahmad Rajeh Saifan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aim
To report participants’ and facilitators’ experiences of mental health promotion, prevention, and early-intervention training program targeted at school nurses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Background
The UAE school healthcare service is staffed by full-time nurses and part-time doctors and linked to primary healthcare centers. This service supports children's physical and mental well-being. However, school nurses’ capacity to realize the potential of this service, particularly regarding mental health, has not yet been explored.
Methods
We used an exploratory qualitative approach with data triangulation. Data were drawn from school nurses that participated in a targeted mental health promotion, prevention, and early-intervention training program. Data were gathered through focus group interviews with participating school nurses, written reflections, and notes recorded by the program designers and trainers. All school nurses who participated in the training program (N = 15) were included in this study. This study adhered to the consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research.
Results
Nurses’ narratives encompassed three main themes, which indicated the program was an enjoyable professional and personal journey that allowed professional discovery/development and personal growth. Program organizers/facilitators indicated the training program was important, but challenging to implement. Four themes emerged from their reflections that covered the structure of school nursing services, participants’ competency and education, the UAE context, and teaching style.
Conclusion
A well-structured professional development program can contribute to improving mental healthcare in schools. Improved service structure and regulations to support this goal are essential.Implications for nursing practice, research, and policySchool nurses benefit professionally and personally from targeted mental health training, which also improves the care students receive. School healthcare service managers should consider increasing such training opportunities for nurses and focus on measuring service outcomes and evaluating effectiveness. It is also necessary to reassess the minimum qualification requirement for school nurses. Specific professional development programs for school nurses will improve their clinical practice and support the recruitment of competent and prepared staff.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-382
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Nursing Review
Volume70
Issue number3
Early online date18 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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