Do third-year mental health nursing students feel prepared to assess physical health?
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Do third-year mental health nursing students feel prepared to assess physical health?

Rebecca Rylance Senior lecturer, Liverpool John Moores University, Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences, Liverpool, England
Stephanie Daye Staff nurse, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Buxton, England
Ashlea Chiocchi Staff nurse, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, England
Amanda Jones Staff nurse, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, England
Gary Jones Staff nurse, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Stafford, England
Anna Harper Staff nurse, Elysium Healthcare, Widnes, England
Matthew Potter Mental health nurse, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Warrington, England
Chloe Reece Staff nurse, Priory Healthcare, Altrincham, England
Kate Caldwell Staff nurse, 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Warrington, England

Background The life expectancy for people with mental health issues is significantly lower than the general population, however, their physical health needs are often unrecognised by health professionals.

Aim To investigate whether third-year mental health nursing students are clinically prepared to undertake a pre-defined set of physical health checks.

Method A 34-item questionnaire was completed by two cohorts of mental health nursing students in their third and final year. Participants self-reported on their competence to assess a range of physical health checks. 37 questionnaires were completed and analysed.

Findings Three groups emerged: group 1 – 100% of students self-declared competence in assessments including temperature and pulse, group 2 – more than 50% of students self-declared competence in assessments including urinalysis and pulse oximetry, and group 3 – less than 50% of students self-declared competence in taking electrocardiograms and using the hydration assessment tool.

Conclusion The student participants of this study were not adequately prepared to undertake a complete range of physical health assessments for people with mental health issues.

Correspondence r.rylance@salford.nhs.uk

Mental Health Practice. 20, 10,26-30. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2017.e1147

Received: 01 January 2016

Accepted: 09 September 2016

Published in print: 12 July 2017

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict Of Interest

None declared