Tag: interprofessional education

Education for community mental health work

This week brought a COCAPP meet-up in Bristol, where we had the chance to plan our work for the immediate period ahead. The RiSC team also met, albeit in teleconference rather than face-to-face fashion. I’ve had pre-registration student nurses’ assignment work to begin marking, and this afternoon will be taking part in a joint Cardiff University/Local Health Board discussion on the future provision of post-qualification modules for community mental health practitioners.

This afternoon’s meeting has given me pause for thought, and a chance to reflect a little on my long involvement in post-registration mental health education. It was explicitly to lead a full-time, one-year, programme for actual or intending community mental health nurses (CMHNs) that I was recruited into what was then the University of Wales College of Medicine in 1997. Education, and my role, have changed considerably in the period following. In Wales there is no longer a fully funded, full-time, course of this type. Like pretty much everywhere else, here education for health care workers beyond registration has increasingly become part-time, and modularised.

I once wrote about the CMHN course we ran in Cardiff in the journal Nurse Education Today. The article was titled ‘Specialist practice in community mental health nursing‘, and had an abstract which went like this:

Community mental health nurses (CMHNs) work in an increasingly complex health and social care environment. Over recent years, the evolving direction of general health service and specific mental health policy has directed CMHNs towards: the provision of clinically-effective interventions; a closer attention to meeting the needs of people experiencing severe and long-term mental health problems; the simultaneous provision of services to meet the needs of people experiencing a wide range of mental health problems presenting in primary care settings; greater collaboration with workers representing other disciplines and agencies; and the development of active partnerships with mental health service users. This paper explores the context within which CMHNs practise, and within which education programmes preparing specialist practitioners in community mental health nursing have been developed. One recently-validated specialist practice course for CMHNs is described in detail, with the intention of stimulating discussion and debate surrounding the practice of, and the educational preparation for, community mental health nursing.

I can’t claim that this paper did actually trigger any particular debate, but at least I tried.

I also had the chance, during the time that I ran Cardiff’s full-time CMHN course, to survey the leaders of other programmes of this type offered elsewhere in the UK. A paper called, ‘Specialist practice for UK community mental health nurses: the 1998-99 survey of course leaders‘ appeared in the International Journal of Nursing Studies. This was co-written with Philip Burnard, Debs Edwards (who, I am delighted to say, is now project manager for the RiSC study already mentioned in this post) and Jackie Turnbull. In the paper’s abstract we said:

Surveys of the leaders of the UK’s post-qualifying education courses for community mental health nurses have taken place, on an annual basis, for over 10 years. In this paper, findings from the survey undertaken in the 1998–99 academic year are reported. These findings include: that most course leaders do not personally engage in clinical practice; that interprofessional education takes place at a minority of course centres, and that course philosophies and aims are characterised by an emphasis on both outcomes (in terms of, for example, skills acquisition, knowledge development and the ability to engage in reflective practice), and process (adult learning).

And then there was a paper called, ‘Education for community mental health nurses: a summary of the key debates‘ which Steve Trenchard, Philip Burnard, Michael Coffey and I wrote for Nurse Education Today. Here we said:

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.

And there are other papers and book chapters, too, which I won’t refer to now. But I am reminded that I once spent large parts of my working life running programmes for community mental health workers, and managed to research and write a fair bit about the same. Perhaps today’s meeting will lead to a modest rekindling.


Catching up post

Plenty going on in the last week or so. I had the chance to join pre-registration mental health nurses and occupational therapists for a second day as they made preparations for an interprofessional event scheduled for early December. Some of these students have also been giving me drafts of assessed work to comment on, but as the deadline for receipt of these is first thing next week I expect a deluge then. ’twas ever thus.

Elsewhere there has been RiSC reviewing to crack on with, assignment marking, and peer review reports to both consider and write. I’ve also put myself in the frame to act as a reviewer for another university’s proposed new MSc mental health programme, this being the kind of curriculum work I haven’t had the chance to do for a while.

I’m not normally one for formal, suit-and-boot, events, but made an exception last Wednesday (November 27th) to join a posse of colleagues from the School of Healthcare Sciences at the RCN Wales Nurse of the Year awards. These took place at Cardiff City Hall, and the overall winner was Cardiff and Vale UHB ward sister Ruth Owens. Congratulations, Ruth. Congratulations, too, to the individual category winners: including Andy Lodwick (also from Cardiff and Vale) for picking up the Mental Health and Learning Disabilities award and Dr Carolyn Middleton, doctoral graduate from what was the Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, for winning the Research in Nursing award.

This week also brought me to a meeting of the MHRNC Service User and Carer Partnership Research Development Group and, yesterday morning, to the Cardiff City Stadium for an open meeting to discuss NISCHR’s infrastructure and programme funding review. Both were lively events, and on the NISCHR front I see big changes ahead from 2015.

And to close this summary post: via the twitter grapevine I see that the RCN is now giving early notification of the Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research 2014 conference. This will take place at Warwick University on the 18th and 19th of September. I’ll post a link to the call for abstracts once this appears, but for now will reproduce this extract from the event website:

This year [2014] is the 20th international NPNR conference and it’s going to be a celebration.

We wish to celebrate and promote some of the outstanding mental health nursing research that shapes mental health policy and nursing practice across the world. We will also acknowledge some of the best psychiatric and mental health nursing research that helped create the strong foundation for our work today. And we will invite delegates to look ahead to map out the future for mental health nursing research, education and practice.

New school

A quick post. Today I returned to work from a fortnight away in the knowledge that, at the start of next month, the Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies will be joining with the School of Healthcare Studies to become the new School of Health Care Sciences (but not the Cardiff School of Health Care Sciences, unless I’ve missed something?). This change will bring academic nurses, midwives, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, radiographers, operating department practitioners and medical photographers (and all our students) together in a single department. I hope I’ve not missed anyone out in this list: apologies if so.

I’m sure there will be some headaches and hiccups along the way as people and processes adjust, but I understand the idea behind this move and broadly welcome it. Hopefully both research and education will benefit, and it will be good to work more directly with people who have similar interests (in the mental health field, for example) but who happen not to be nurses.

Anyway, more immediately today was the small matter of picking up some important research threads. This included preparing for tomorrow’s service user researcher meeting, in which we’ll be discussing (and using) interview schedules in preparation for fieldwork. I also had the chance to correct proofs for a new article, which I’ll blog about in time. But now it’s late, so I’m off.

Summer sun

Just as predicted by those nice people at the Met Office, South Wales is warming up. The sun is high, and I hear the voices of schoolchildren playing football. I’ve been stuck inside all day, which in the circumstances has been something of a drag, but in the last hour or so I’ve gravitated outside to soak up some of this long-awaited summer.

This has been a working week as varied as any. I had a couple of School committees to chair (research ethics, and scientific review), some teaching (MSc), and a meeting with colleagues to plan some pre-registration interprofessional education in the autumn. This is a continuing mental health nursing/occupational therapy initiative (which I’ve posted about before), and on this occasion we’re planning some technological innovation involving the use of video recording and playback. On the research front I’ve been working on RiSC and keeping in touch with COCAPP, and found myself contributing to a rapidly convened meet-up to talk through a brand new project idea. I received page proofs for our new Critical junctures paper, peer reviewed a manuscript submitted for publication, and received a citation alert from Scopus. This was particularly pleasing as it took my ‘h’ index to 15, for what that’s worth. I also completed preparations for a doctoral examination taking place next Tuesday, and managed to squeeze in a pleasant catch-up with an esteemed colleague working in NHS mental health services. Mostly we exchanged news of developments in practice, services and research locally.

And with that, I’m off. Beer in the back garden calls.

Learning together, and more on peer review

Along with spending time with students rehearsing research ethics, this week I have also had the chance to be part of a small interprofessional education initiative. This involved pre-registration mental health nurses and pre-registration occupational therapists. Two linked sessions, the last of which was a few days ago, were facilitated by a teaching team led by my excellent colleague Gerwyn Jones, and Ruth Squire (who I hadn’t met before, but was pleased to meet in this context). Also taking part was the fine Teena Clouston, an occupational therapy academic who I have enjoyed working with, on and off, over a period of many years. As an aside, meeting up again with Teena gave me the opportunity to congratulate her on her freshly minted doctorate. That was nice.

Interprofessional education in health and social care is hardly a new idea. It’s also good to do. In the workplace nurses, occupational therapists, doctors, social workers, physiotherapists and all the rest have to rub along together. So why not create opportunities for students from across these fields to learn together first, in the classroom as well as in practice placements?

It’s worth reflecting on the extent to which we still recruit and teach students in uniprofessional isolation. There’s work involved in making connections across different university departments, in creating materials and in planning what will take place. Timetables need to be aligned, and facilities booked. Only then does cross-disciplinary, university-based, learning occur. Having brokered interprofessional education initiatives of this type in the past I appreciate the time and organisation required. But I think we have to collectively put this effort in, and more.

On this occasion, this mental health-focused two days of joint learning culminated in students participating in a role played care planning meeting. I have to say that I was impressed – very impressed – by the way students managed the process. Interactions between professionals, the service user, his carer and an advocate were respectful and productive. I’ve seen a whole lot worse in real life. I left feeling optimistic.

Unrelatedly: yesterday a journal I haven’t reviewed for before got in touch and asked if I would comment on a paper submitted for publication. Last weekend I blogged about peer review, and wrote about having graciously declined an invitation. Yesterday afternoon’s request was different: I know the area being written about, and was happy to give a view.

Changing the subject again, South Wales once more is spectacularly beautiful this morning. Frosty, and dry: perfect for my run.