Mental health nurses committed to the cause

1 March 2012

About half of new mental health nurses intend to keep working in the mental health and addiction for at least another ten years, according to a recent survey.

Nearly 40 of the 144 new graduates funded in 2011 to complete the New Entry to Specialist Mental Health nursing programme (NESP) took part in the survey.

Skills Matter, the training-arm of mental health workforce agency Te Pou, carried out the survey of students taking part in its Ministry of Health funded programmes. Last year, about 260 full-time equivalent nurses in all were funded to carry out postgraduate mental health and addiction training, and of these, 73 nurses responded to the survey. The majority (38) were from the NESP programme, 22 were taking part in clinical leadership programmes, and 13 attended other programmes.

Nearly half of the new graduate programme students indicated they intended to work in the mental health and addiction sector for at least another ten years and 32 per cent didn’t know. About 75 per cent of the surveyed new graduates had either joined the government’s voluntary bonding scheme or were interested in the scheme.

The nurses who completed the clinical leadership programme were the most committed to the sector, with nearly 75 per cent indicating they intended staying in the sector for at least another decade.

The survey respondents were largely positive about their courses with 80–85 per cent reporting they were ‘overall satisfied’ with their course, would recommend their course to others, and thought their course content was relevant.

The nurses also reported they felt well supported during the course, particularly from preceptors, their organisations, and their colleagues. Other key factors identified as helping complete courses were family support and individual determination.