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The attitudes of undergraduate nursing students towards mental health nursing: a systematic review

Happell, Brenda and Gaskin, Cadeyrn J 2013, The attitudes of undergraduate nursing students towards mental health nursing: a systematic review, Journal of clinical nursing, vol. 22, no. 1-2, pp. 148-158, doi: 10.1111/jocn.12022.

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Title The attitudes of undergraduate nursing students towards mental health nursing: a systematic review
Author(s) Happell, Brenda
Gaskin, Cadeyrn J
Journal name Journal of clinical nursing
Volume number 22
Issue number 1-2
Start page 148
End page 158
Total pages 11
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication Chichester, Eng.
Publication date 2013-01
ISSN 0962-1067
1365-2702
Keyword(s) attitude of health personnel
career choice
education
nursing
baccalaureate
job preferences
mental health nursing
nursing specialties
nursing staff
psychiatric nursing
undergraduate nursing
Summary AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To present the findings of a systematic review on (1) the attitudes of undergraduate nursing students towards mental health nursing and (2) the influence of undergraduate nursing education on the attitudes of undergraduate nursing students towards mental health nursing.

BACKGROUND: Recruitment and retention of mental health nurses is challenging. Undergraduate nursing students' attitudes towards mental health nursing may influence whether they choose to practice in this specialty upon graduation.

DESIGN: A systematic review.

METHOD: Searches of the CINAHL, MEDLINE and PsycINFO electronic databases returned 1400 records, of which 17 met the inclusion criteria for this review. A further four papers were obtained through scanning the reference lists of those articles included from the initial literature search.

RESULTS: Research on the attitudes of undergraduate nursing students towards mental health nursing has consistently shown that mental health is one of the least preferred areas of nursing for a potential career. With respect to the influence of undergraduate nursing education on the attitudes of students towards mental health nursing, quasi-experimental studies have generally demonstrated that students tended to have more favourable attitudes towards mental health nursing when they had received more hours of theoretical preparation and undertaken longer clinical placements.

CONCLUSION: Many nursing students regard mental health nursing as the least preferred career option. Education, via classroom teaching and clinical placements, seems to engender more positive attitudes towards mental health nursing. There is no evidence, however, that changing student attitudes results in more graduates beginning careers in mental health nursing.

REFERENCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: The constancy of negative attitudes to mental health nursing over time suggests the focus of research should shift. Clinicians have the capacity to promote a more positive view of mental health nursing. This requires further exploration.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/jocn.12022
Field of Research 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
1110 Nursing
1701 Psychology
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2012, Blackwell Publishing
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30075488

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Faculty of Health
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