Research priorities for mental health nursing

Last week’s arrival in my email inbox of the notes taken at Mental Health Nurse Academics UK‘s most recent meeting, held on October 8th at Teesside University, reminds me that MHNAUK is still conducting a research priorities exercise. These minutes, taken by Joy Duxbury and circulated by Michael Coffey, note that Len Bowers led our discussions on the day and has offered to collate responses:

The group discussed the scope of future research for the profession of mental health nursing. The idea is to develop research priorities to influence what research gets funded and funders will be interested to hear about this. The priority setting exercise included discussions on the following:

  • The role of the mental health nurse – What works and what doesn’t? What we are good at and what we aren’t so good at.
  • The role of theory as well as empirical research – how does this influence funders and how research might still be theory driven?
  • What do mental health nurses contribute that aids recovery?
  • Transitions
  • Care co-ordination
  • Does it have to be unique to mental health nursing? Maybe not
  • Underpinning values
  • Public Health

As there seemed to be problems with consensus e.g. defining what counts as mental health nursing research as opposed to mental health research of relevance to nursing it was felt that we need first to feedback top ten priorities for research to Len before Christmas. He will then collate to discuss at a future meeting. It might also help if we report what research we are currently doing too.

Meanwhile, over on MHNAUK’s blog there’s this post from Alan Simpson to kick-start this exercise off, and room for people to add their thoughts beneath via the comments function. In his ‘starter for 26’ Alan writes:

Inspired by last week’s MHNAUK meeting, today staff at our mental health research team meeting were asked to identify their research priorities for mental health nursing research. The meeting consists of various academic research staff and clinical academics discussing on-going and forthcoming research studies and various research-related issues. Today, I simply asked each person to write a short list of priorities, which we then shared and discussed. Here’s our Top 30 in no particular order with repeats removed. Most frequent repeat was physical healthcare. Second was recovery. Third – racism and culture. What’s your Top 10?

  1. Generic vs Specialist MHN training
  2. Measures of Compassion
  3. Effects of selection procedures for MHN students and staff
  4. Nursing and PTSD
  5. Tool development
  6. Risk assessment and MHN
  7. The 6 Cs and MHN
  8. Mental capacity and issues of consent
  9. Racism and stigma in MHN
  10. Values and beliefs and how they impact on practice
  11. Mental health and the performing arts
  12. MHN training and learning disabilities
  13. MHN views on developments that may threaten MHN, e.g. peer support, self-care
  14. Physical healthcare in secondary mental health care settings
  15. Philosophy and MHN: The Art of Living
  16. Identity and body image in people with MI
  17. Community and third sector organisations and how they link with mental health teams/services
  18. Communication, especially information giving and the first contact
  19. Culture and ‘cultural safety’ as a useful model
  20. Fear – underpinning MHN and service user behaviours
  21. Brokerage roles, self-care and MHN
  22. Workforce planning and nurse education/training and physical/mental health divide
  23. Evaluation of education/training and preparation of MHNs for the job
  24. Recovery and MHN interventions
  25. MHN interventions to maximise engagement
  26. Liaison mental health care

We’re looking to conduct an informal exercise of this type amongst Cardiff University’s mental health nurse academics, with a view to forwarding our collective ideas to Michael Coffey for wider incorporation. Ahead of this, here are some initial suggestions of my own, which I’ll also add to the MHNAUK blog:

  1. What do mental health nurses do?
  2. What do/can mental health nurses do which promotes recovery and individually tailored care?
  3. What do/can mental health nurses do to better promote physical health and well-being in people with severe and enduring mental health difficulties?
  4. What do/can nurses do to help people in their journeys into, through and out of the mental health system?
  5. What are mental health nursing values, and what difference do/can they make?
  6. How are/should students of mental health nursing be prepared for practice?
  7. How can nurses use new technologies to improve care and its organisation?
  8. What are the intended and unintended consequences of organisational and therapeutic innovation on the experiences of people both using, and providing, mental health services?

These are all ideas occurring this evening, though it’s also true to say most reflect lines of inquiry I’m fortunate enough to already be associated with. More to follow, perhaps.

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