Role of the military community mental health nurse
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Role of the military community mental health nurse

Matthew Donal Kiernan Senior lecturer, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
Alan Finnegan Head of Academic Department of Defence Nursing, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
Derek Farrell Senior lecturer, Psychology, University of Worcester, Worcester

Aim To understand the role and effect of a community mental health nurse (CMHN) deployed to work with military personnel during sea-based operations.

Method Semi-structured interviews were conducted to ascertain Royal Navy aircraft carrier military unit commanders’ perceptions and experiences of the CMHN’s role.

Findings Three mutually inclusive components are necessary to ensure successful integration of the CMHN: familiarity, trust and credibility.

Conclusion For CMHNs to function successfully and provide mental health care to sea-based military personnel, they need to demonstrate familiarity, trust and credibility. This will enhance uptake of mental health services among military personnel and ensure they are fit for service.

Nursing Standard. 27, 51, 35-41. doi: 10.7748/ns2013.

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 28 March 2013

Accepted: 29 April 2013