Preparing nurses with enhanced mental health knowledge and skill: a major in mental health

Amanda Kenny, Sue McConnachie, Eileen Petrie, Gerry Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In Australia, since the early 1990s there has been a significant change to the way in which mental illness has been managed. Major government reforms resulted in the 'mainstreaming' of mental health care, with a significant reduction in the numbers of psychiatric hospitals. This significant policy change resulted in the demise of direct entry, specialist mental health nurse education that was the main provider of the mental health workforce. In theory, since that time, nurses have been prepared for practice through a comprehensive degree program; however, there is strong evidence to suggest that the mental health content in the comprehensive program is well below what is needed for nurses to have the knowledge and skill to provide effective mental health care. This article reports on the development of an innovative curriculum designed to prepare an appropriately qualified nursing workforce with enhanced mental health knowledge and skill to be responsive to the changing nature of health service delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-46
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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