Child and adolescent mental health nursing seen through a social constructionist lens
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Child and adolescent mental health nursing seen through a social constructionist lens

Philippa Rasmussen Senior lecturer, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia
Eimear Muir-Cochrane Chair of nursing(mental health), School of Nursing & Midwifery, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Ann Henderson Senior lecturer adjunct, School of Nursing, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

Aim To discuss the theoretical framework of social constructivism and justify its appropriateness for and compatibility with an interpretive approach to child adolescent mental health (CAMH) nursing research.

Background Recent changes to national nursing legislation in Australia have resulted in the removal of the separate register with regulatory authorities that existed for the speciality of mental health nursing. Aspects of mental health nursing are not easily defined, with some being tacit. CAMH nursing is a sub-specialty area of mental health in which the role and function of these nurses is also not overtly understood.

Data source An interpretive research study was designed to develop a deeper understanding of the role and work of CAMH nurses when working in an inpatient setting.

Review methods An interpretive enquiry methodology was used for the study, with three sequential stages of data collection: document analysis, focus group interviews and semi-structured individual interviews.

Discussion Social constructionism was the chosen theoretical framework for this study as it provided a useful lens for interpreting and understanding the work of the CAMH nurse.

Conclusion The social constructionist lens was simpatico with mental health nursing, as they both involved making meaning of or assessing information and understanding of social processes and interactions.

Implications for research/practice A useful lens for further research into mental health nursing practice.

Nurse Researcher. 23, 2, 13-16. doi: 10.7748/nr.23.2.13.s4

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 04 December 2014

Accepted: 19 March 2015

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