Authors: Richard Bostwick and Michael Monisse-Redman, WA
Event: 2009 TheMHS Conference
Subject: EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE,WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP, Supervision & training
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Over the next decade a significant proportion of the workforce will begin retiring and/or moving onto new endeavours leaving a significant gap in the existing mental health workforce (Cleary & Happell, 2005; Elder, Evans & Nizette, 2009). Although staff retention remains a priority the reality of an aging workforce now forces the industry to begin looking at longer term solutions including improving the number of professionals entering the mental health profession after undergraduate studies. Being the largest proportion of the current health workforce, a project has begun that aims to improve interest and industry relevant skills in the undergraduate nursing program at Edith Cowan University. In late 2008, work began on the development and implementation of a new undergraduate curriculum that would augment existing passive teaching models with active models of care such as self-efficacy, consumer perspectives and narratives, a broader range of service provision particularly in older aged persons and child and adolescent mental health, the General Practice environment and a greater emphasis on primary and secondary care. The new curriculum was developed in line with the National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce (2002), a protocol under that aims to standardise mental health practice (skills and knowledge) across all disciplines in mental health. Industry and community partnerships provided significant input into this curriculum redevelopment and implementation. This paper will give an overview of the new nursing undergraduate mental health curriculum at Edith Cowan University, the process of closing the gap that existed in content exploring mental health clinical models outside the tertiary setting, the National Curriculum Guidelines and how these, once integrated and implemented, will form one future solution to the impending workforce shortage.
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