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Education for community mental health nurses: a summary of the key debates

Trenchard, S., Burnard, Philip, Coffey, Michael and Hannigan, Ben ORCID: 2002. Education for community mental health nurses: a summary of the key debates. Nurse Education Today 22 (3) , pp. 258-264. 10.1054/nedt.2001.0705

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A wide range of post-qualifying education courses exist for community mental health nurses (CMHNs) working in the UK. ‘Specialist practitioner’ courses emphasize shared learning between CMHNs and members of other community nursing branches. These programmes typically include course content drawing on the social and behavioural sciences, as well as on material more tailored to the clinical needs of practitioners. Such courses and their predecessors have been subject to criticism, however. Courses have been described as anachronistic, and failing to take account of recent advances in treatment modalities. In addition concerns about the generic focus of some programmes have also been raised. Educational alternatives, such as programmes preparing nurses and other mental health workers to provide ‘psycho-social interventions’ have, correspondingly, become increasingly popular. In this paper we explore some of the debates surrounding the education of CMHNs, and explore the context in which CMHNs work and in which educational programmes are devised. We consider the multidisciplinary environment in which CMHNs practise, the differing client groups with which CMHNs work, the developing policy framework in which mental health care is provided, demands for more user-responsive education, and the relationship between higher educational institutions and health care providers. We conclude the paper with a series of questions for CMHN educators and education commissioners.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Publisher: Harcourt
ISSN: 0260-6917
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 09:27

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