Transition to psychiatric/mental health nursing programs: Expectations and practical considerations: Feature Article

  • Cleary M
  • Horsfall J
  • Happell B
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Mental health services have developed transition programs to attract staff, including new graduates, staff with mental health nursing experience without formal qualifications, experienced nurses wishing to move into mental health, and nurses returning to the workforce. Transition to psychiatric/mental health programs are considered to be particularly significant in the mental health field because of the relative under-representation of mental health content in undergraduate curricula. Unfortunately, transition programs have received only minor attention in the literature and there is a paucity of published evaluations to determine their effectiveness. The aim of this paper is to examine transition programs and consider how they meet the expectations of stakeholders, such as consumers of mental health services, and program participants' expectations. It is concluded that published systematic evaluations are lacking, particularly those considered from the perspective of stakeholders. Consideration of these expectations should be reflected in the design and delivery of mental health nursing transition programs.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Consumer
  • Graduate nurse program
  • Mental health transition program
  • Professional development

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