Opinion

A framework for mental health nursing: celebrating and improving

The chair of the All Wales Senior Nurse Advisory Group for Mental Health explains the thinking behind the latest mental health policy

The chair of the All Wales Senior Nurse Advisory Group for Mental Health explains the thinking behind the latest mental health policy


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Mental health nurses make up the largest of the professional groups involved in the provision of specialist mental health care. 

At a time when mental health services in Wales and across the whole UK are under scrutiny, we wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate what we do and to suggest how we could do it better, for the benefit of the people using the services and their families. 

We recognise the importance of other frameworks and strategies for mental health nursing, most recently Playing our Part (Butterworth and Shaw 2017). 

However, it is many years since a document of this type has been produced here in Wales and, given that we are a distinct part of the UK, we thought this was work that had to be done.

Advisory group and framework

At its heart, A Framework for Mental Health Nursing in Wales confirms the vital role mental health nurses play. It is our aspiration that mental health nurses in Wales will:

  • Continue to be at the forefront of driving improvements in practice and in services. 
  • Deliver high-quality, evidence-informed and compassionate care. 
  • Work in collaboration with people using mental health services and their families to improve their experiences of care.

The All Wales Senior Nurse Advisory Group for Mental Health is made up of senior mental health nurses from each health board and from higher education establishments.

We report to the chief nursing officer in Wales Jean White and the Nurse Directors Group, championing mental health nursing and highlighting the excellent work people in our field do and have the potential to do.

As our group’s name suggests, we provide professional advice, support the implementation of policy and advise on current issues in mental health nursing. This gives us significant opportunity to influence and we need to exercise that opportunity as best we can.

Collective voice

We thought it was important to produce the framework to set out these aspirations but also to give a collective voice to mental health nursing and to maximise the role of mental health nurses throughout the health and social care system. 

The framework has been produced through a range of activities that have involved nurses, people using services, families and carers, and other health and social care professionals. 

We hope people reading the framework will recognise many of the messages and aspirations, and that the framework resonates with mental health nurses and others.

There are in the framework a range of examples from practice and education providers across Wales that we hope nurses will quickly adopt. 

It also lays out a range of areas, such as prison, perinatal and crisis care, in which mental health nurses can lead service improvement. 

Now we have published the framework, our next job is to develop an action plan to help realise its aspirations. We hope to achieve this by the summer.


Hazel Powell is chair of the All Wales Senior Nurse Advisory Group for Mental Health
 

 

 

Reference

Butterworth T, Shaw T (2017) Playing our Part: The Work of Graduate and Registered Mental Health Nurses

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