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The role of a mental health consumer in the education of postgraduate psychiatric nursing students : the students' evaluation
Recent Australian Government policy reflects the integral nature of active consumer participation to the planning and delivery of mental health services. The effectiveness of consumer participation in improving mental health services has received some attention in the literature. Commonwealth Government funding enabled the development of a partnership between the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing Research and Practice and the MelbourneConsumer Consultants’ Group. The successful application enabled the employment of a mental health consumer as an academic staff member of the Centre forPsychiatric Nursing Research and Practice. One important aspect of this role involved the mental health consumer teaching a consumer perspective to postgraduate psychiatric nursing students. The primary aim was to increase the students’ awareness of and sensitivity to greater consumer participation within the mental health arena. This paper presents the results of an evaluation of the consumer academic role in teaching within the Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Clinical Nursing (Psychiatric Nursing). An evaluation form was distributed to students (n=21) on completion of the semester. The findings suggest the experience was considered beneficial to students and was impacting significantly on their current practice. This project supports the value of consumer participation in the education of mental health professionals.