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Students to learn to ‘reach out’

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Nursing students in Scotland will be to taught to respect and ‘reach out’ to patients, as part of a new mental health framework designed to promote emotional engagement.

The guidance, to be used alongside NMC pre-registration standards of proficiency, is intended to ensure educational institutions teach more than basic technical competencies.

The National Framework for Pre-registration Mental Health Nursing in Scotland aims to ensure that students learn to practise in a way that respects diversity, with an emphasis on recovery and well-being.

‘Listening to what people say and not basing practice on assumptions about what people need,’ is one of the core values in the framework.

Geoff Earl, RCN board member for Lothian branch, said: ‘This is really exciting for mental health.

‘It is not just about looking to the NMC to say you have to have these competencies, it is about saying what values a mental health nurse should have as a whole. We’re doing this to say that good nurses are this type of person.’

The framework is one of three issued by the Scottish Government. The others focus on acute mental health and caring for older people.

NHS Education for Scotland, universities and service providers drew them up as part of a five-year plan following a review of Scottish mental health nursing published in 2006.

The review said a more robust method of learning and greater support around the role in general were needed.

The Scottish 2003 Mental Health Act, which is currently under review, and Scottish Government policy document Delivering for Mental Health have also helped to shape
the frameworks.

David Law, professional officer for the Mental Health Nurses Association, said: ‘The legislation we have here is different from that down south, we have a different mental health act and we need something that supports that.

‘The frameworks are a mechanism to bring all of the pieces of work in Scotland together,’ he added.

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