S15: ‘Bridging them and us mentality’. Can the mental health nurse prescribing model be helpful in improving access to medication for people with mental health issues in rural South Australia?

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By September 21, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Kuda Muyambi, Lee Martinez, Ruth McPhail, Kathryn Cronin, Martin Jones

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Workforce, Research & Evaluation Informing Practice, Change, Innovation, Reform

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Fewer psychiatrists live and practice in regional and remote Australia. In regional Australia, there are 3.3 psychiatrists per 100, 000 in comparison to 14.2 per 100, 000 in metropolitan Australia (1). Preparing Mental Health Nurses (MHN) to undertake prescribing responsibilities in regional Australia has the potential to increase access to specialist mental health care and knowledge of psychotropic medication in the bush (2). Increasingly, non-medical prescribing in clinical care has become a popular workforce strategy worldwide. It is consistent with task shifting approaches and involves the transfer of specific tasks and responsibilities traditionally performed by clinicians and other related experts to less specialised healthcare workers.

The presentation will talk about a cross-sectional study carried out in rural and remote South Australia. The mixed methods study used a validated attitudinal measure assessing the potential utility of MHN prescribing in rural and remote South Australia. The data was supplemented by completing two focus groups with regional mental health clinicians.

We will highlight the reflections and findings from the study which demonstrated that MHN prescribing can be an effective workforce strategy to enhance access to and quality and continuity of mental health care in rural areas.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Extension of prescribing rights to mental health nurses has implications on health policy and further education

Learning Objective 2: Mental health nurse prescribing has potential to improve access to mental health care, enhance quality and continuity of care while promoting better and greater use of the nurses’ professional skills in rural South Australia.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (2015) Rural Psychiatry. Available at https://www.ranzcp.org/Files/Resources/College_Statements/Position_Statements/PS-65-FPOA-Rural-psychiatry-(Feb-2015).aspx [Accessed 06 March 2017.]
Dober-Ober, D., Brimblecombe, N. & Bradley, E. (2010) Nurse prescribing in mental health: national survey. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 17, 487–493.

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