Meeting the needs of people with complex emotional needs: what's wrong with genericism in the mental health nursing curriculum?

Haslam, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9076-1481, Warrender, Dan and Lamph, Gary (2023) Meeting the needs of people with complex emotional needs: what's wrong with genericism in the mental health nursing curriculum? In: British and Irish Group for the study of Personality Disorder (BIGSPD), 13/06/23-15/06/23, Glasgow. (Unpublished)

[thumbnail of BIGSPD presentation - meeting the needs of CEN.pdf]
PDF - Presentation

Official URL:


OBJECTIVES: In this presentation we take a critical stance to the current Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) standards underpinning nurse education and consider their potential impact upon the future of mental health nursing care for people with Complex Emotional Needs (CEN) in the UK.
BACKGROUND: Over the years, Mental Health Nursing as a profession, has fallen foul of controversy and criticism; and rightly, its most vocal critics are amongst those to whom we deliver care. In 2018, the NMC introduced new standards for nurse education, framed as developing future Mental Health Nurses with a more holistic skillset. Widespread dissatisfaction, however, is felt by Mental Health Nurse Academics who feel mental health nursing content has been diluted and that the preparation of new mental health nurse graduates has shifted from relational understanding and psycho-social skills development, towards a biomedical focus.
METHOD: As a collective of Nurse Academics, we acknowledge that changes to mental health nursing care are warranted. This presentation critically examines how the recent changes to the education standards underpinning mental health nurse education in the UK prioritise procedural-based, often redundant, physical health interventions and skills above mental health nursing-specific knowledge / skills needed to work effectively with people who are distressed. We argue that University curricula and practice assessment documents underpinned by the current education standards, undervalue the mental health nursing skills and qualities required to effectively support people with CEN.
RESULTS: As a consequence of this foundational shift in the NMC standards, and without any focus of meeting the needs of people with CEN, we predict poorer outcomes and experiences for people with this demographic.
LIMITATIONS: Service Users have not been involved in the development or presentation of this conceptual argument, however by bringing this debate to colleagues with Lived and Occupational Experience, we argue for solidarity and collective action.
CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This current period marks a critical time for the mental health nurse profession and the people we work with. Collective action and innovations are required to bridge the gaps, especially if we are to better meet the needs of people with CEN.

Repository Staff Only: item control page