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Keeping the flame alight : understanding and enhancing interest in mental health nursing as a career

journal contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Brenda Happell, Anthony Welch, Lorna Moxham, Louise Byrne
Mental health nursing is not regarded favourably by most Bachelor of Nursing (BN) students as a desirable career option. However, little is known about what attracts those students who do become interested. The primary aim of the current study was to explore BN students' reasons for choosing to undertake the major in mental health nursing and the degree to which completing the subject: “Recovery for mental health nursing practice”, confirmed that interest or otherwise. A secondary aim was to examine their perceptions about the attitudes of others to their expressed interest in mental health nursing. A qualitative exploratory study was undertaken with undergraduate nursing students (BN) (n = 12) enrolled in a major stream in mental health nursing. In-depth individual interviews were conducted primarily by telephone. Data were analysed using Colaizzi's steps to explicate the main themes. Two main themes emerged: Swimming against the tide – that's not real nursing, captures participants' experience of the negative attitudes of others to their interest in mental health nursing; and, creating and confirming an interest in mental health nursing, where participants discuss how their interest emerged and how it had been enhanced after completing the subject: Recovery for Mental Health Nursing Practice. Mental health nursing continues to be a stigmatised and undervalued profession both within nursing and the general public. Despite this, participants of this research were attracted to the specialty, and their interest was generally strengthened after completing the Recovery subject. Further research is required to examine the impact of being taught by an academic with lived experience on interest in mental health nursing as a career.

History

Volume

27

Issue

4

Start Page

161

End Page

165

Number of Pages

5

eISSN

1532-8228

ISSN

0883-9417

Location

United States

Publisher

W.B. Saunders Co.

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

External Author Affiliations

Centre for Mental Health Nursing Innovation; Institute for Health and Social Science Research (IHSSR); School of Nursing and Midwifery (2013- ); School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health;

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Archives of psychiatric nursing.

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