NURS 7018 Contemporary Professional Practice in Mental Health Nursing

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 400220

Coordinator Suzanne Murphy Opens in new window

Description Professional practice in Mental Health Nursing is continually evolving to meet changing social, political and legal requirements related to mental health issues. These requirements include changes in social and political understandings of mental illness and the rights and responsibilities of consumers, carers and providers. There has also been increased emphasis on health promotion, prevention and education in population specific contexts (eg, aged care, child and family, adolescent mental health, alcohol and other drugs services). Mental Health Nurses thus face challenges to develop practice that is congruent with the context of these changing requirements. This unit aims to provide a basis of inquiry into contemporary practice(s) from which the nurse can build an ongoing understanding and appreciation of changing influences.

School Nursing & Midwifery

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 1 10cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject

Restrictions Students must be enrolled in a postgraduate program.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are required to be registered nurses with basic knowledge of mental health, mental illness and assessment processes augmented with experience in mental health settings.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. Identify and critically discuss contemporary mental health nursing practice.
  2. Evaluate influences upon contemporary mental health nursing practice.
  3. Evaluate the impact of contemporary practice upon the professional identity of nursing.
  4. Demonstrate ways that mental health nursing can meet the challenges of contemporary practice.
  5. Critically evaluate the broader social and cultural impact of contemporary mental health practice.

Subject Content

1. The Socio Political Contexts of Mental Health Care
- National and State agendas and policies: Standards, National Action Plans, strategies (priorities, inter-sectoral approach, mainstreaming, special needs groups), etc
- protocols that include: Confidentiality / suicide
- social influences (Feminism, socialism, consumerism, economic change)
- indigenous Issues in mental health care
- cultural awareness, safety and competence
2. Contemporary Philosophical Constructions in Mental Health
- mental health care provision across The lifespan
- prevention , intervention and person-centred care
- collaboration / partnerships with Consumers, carers, care providers and inter-sectoral agencies to promote optimum outcomes
3. Mental Health Nursing Practice Issues
- professional practice and competencies
- Nurse identity in multidisciplinary and person-centred contexts
- inclusion of quality practice (ie: clinical indicators) to provide A framework for care provision
- professional practice and improvement: Organisations, credentialling, clinical Roles, career options, etc
- supervision, mentorship and preceptorship
- research in mental health Nursing
4. Power and Ethics
- legal Issues: police, mental health acts, Privacy acts, etc
- professional Issues: therapeutic relationships, power, personal / professional boundaries, etc
- Ethical concerns encountered within mental health Nursing practice: diverse spiritual beliefs, risks associated with marginalised groups, Domestic violence, etc
- Nursing Code of professional conduct and Code of ethics


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Essay on Policy 2,500 words 50 N Individual
Essay on Practice 2,500 words 50 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • There is no essential textbook.

Teaching Periods

2022 Semester 1



Subject Contact Toby Raeburn Opens in new window

Attendance Requirements 80% attendance rate is imposed in all core subjects’ due to the nature of class activities that are aligned with subject assessments.

View timetable Opens in new window