Nursing and Health Vol. 2(3), pp. 57 - 64
DOI: 10.13189/nh.2014.020301
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An Evaluation of the Effect of a Mental Health Clinical Placement on the Mental Health Attitudes of Student Nurses


Louise Chadwick 1,*, Joanne Porter 2
1 School of Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University Melbourne Australia
2 School of Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Monash University, Gippsland, Melbourne Australia

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of a mental health clinical placement on student nurses attitudes towards mental illness and mental health nursing. Health holds different definitions for different people. The term health can mean wellness or a state of being. Mental health in our society still is wrought with stigma. It is the use of negative labels to identify someone living with a mental illness. Stigma can be a barrier and may discourage families and individuals from seeking help. In the health care system, these barriers need to be broken, from the first contact with the health profession, these being the nurses. Nurse’s attitudes can develop for many different reasons, these being, and lack of knowledge, stigma, and prior experience with mental illness. As a health care profession, we need to start at the beginning, with assessing and encouraging more understanding and tolerance of mental illness with our student nurses. This study used a longitudinal descriptive pre-post survey design to determine the degree to which a clinical placement with a psychiatric/mental health agency changed student nurses’ attitudes towards mental illness and mental health/psychiatric nursing. Bachelor of nursing students are required to complete a mental health unit of study within the Bachelor of Nursing Degree. This unit of study required student nurses to complete a 4 week clinical placement in a mental health facility. Students were invited to complete a survey before the clinical placement and at the completion of the clinical placement. Of the (n=184) nurses invited to participate in this study, 65 completed the pre and post clinical placement surveys, giving a response rate of 35%.The results show that there is a statistical significance of .001 in the mean attitude scores towards mental illness for pre and post placement. The attitudes towards psychiatric nursing show a statistical significance of .01.Results from this study support recent literature towards a positive change in student nurses attitudes towards mental illness and mental health nursing on the completion of a clinical placement in a mental health facility.

KEYWORDS
Mental health, Attitudes, Nursing Students

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Louise Chadwick , Joanne Porter , "An Evaluation of the Effect of a Mental Health Clinical Placement on the Mental Health Attitudes of Student Nurses," Nursing and Health, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 57 - 64, 2014. DOI: 10.13189/nh.2014.020301.

(b). APA Format:
Louise Chadwick , Joanne Porter (2014). An Evaluation of the Effect of a Mental Health Clinical Placement on the Mental Health Attitudes of Student Nurses. Nursing and Health, 2(3), 57 - 64. DOI: 10.13189/nh.2014.020301.