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Seeking and defining the 'special' in specialist mental health nursing: A theoretical construct


Santangelo, P and Proctor, N and Fassett, D, Seeking and defining the 'special' in specialist mental health nursing: A theoretical construct, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27, (1) pp. 267-275. ISSN 1445-8330 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2017 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1111/inm.12317


In the context of an enduring debate about the distinct identity of mental health nursing, this qualitative study explored the nature, scope and consequences of mental health nursing practice. Data for interpretation were generated through interviews with 36 mental health nurses, five of their clients and one health care colleague, each of whom were asked to speak in as much detail as possible about what they believe is special about mental health nursing and what had influenced them to arrive at this understanding. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, the study generated a substantive theory of recovery-focused mental health nursing expressed as 'Being in the here and now, side by side, co-constructing care'. The study revealed that the distinct nature and identity of mental health nursing provides the foundation that primes and drives practice scope and consequences. Conceptual interpretations of the data emphasized the mental health nursing perspective of care as an acquired lens founded in nursing as a profession and enhanced by the relational interplay between the nurse and the client that facilitates the nurse to adopt recovery-focused practices. This theoretical construct holds the potential to be the mediating connection between client and mental health nurse. By situating mental health nursing and its central role in practice as something co-constructed, findings from this study can be expanded beyond the Australian context, particularly in terms of mental health nursing's distinct professional identity and practice.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:co-construction; grounded theory; mental health nursing; recovery-focused care; specialist practice
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Nursing
Research Field:Mental health nursing
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Santangelo, P (Mr Pietro Santangelo)
UTAS Author:Fassett, D (Professor Denise Fassett)
ID Code:152319
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:College Office - CHM
Deposited On:2022-08-17
Last Modified:2022-10-18

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