All posts by Paul

Child and Adolescent Mental Health – Every child matters!

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The recent dept of Health document “No health without mental health” emphasises the need to prioritise preventative and early intervention services when responding to the mental health needs of young people.

Yet, I believe that people are unaware of the numbers of young people suffering with serious mental health problems.  Mental health promotion for young people is vital, in my opinion; failure to intervene early enough contributes to a life of distress, barriers, and problems for too many young people.  I am aware of many children struggling with the challenges of education, learning and growing up whilst also experiencing low mood, depression, self harm and suicidal thoughts.

More young people are being referred to CAMHS services.  It is worrying that at least 1 in 4 young people are likely to be referred to CAMHS during their childhood or adolescence.  Within the West Midlands CAMHS community and in-patient services for young people have been developed in response to this growing need.

As a CAMHS nurse and a senior lecturer at BCU I believe passionately that the comprehensive health care needs of young people and their families must be integral to our courses.  We must ensure all pre-registration student nurses have opportunities to consider child and adolescent development issues, the importance of attachments and supportive relationships, risk and resilience factors which impact on health, the incidence and nature of mental health and related challenges, the structure, and how to access  CAMHS.

Child and adolescent mental health is “everybody’s business” whether we are engaged directly or indirectly with children and their families.  We have a timely opportunity to integrate this perspective within our student population: tomorrow’s registered nurses.

I hope we do not miss this opportunity.

We also offer a Learning beyond Registration CAMHS pathway as part of our BSc(Hons) Mental Health Studies programme for registered nurses, allied professionals, and other people interested in the health and wellbeing of young people. Please contact me if you are interested in hearing more about our learning beyond registration BSC(Hons) CAMHS pathway.  We are currently planning the two double modules which will be offered during the 2011/12 academic year which is scheduled to commence in October this year.

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Time to Care

A 2008 study by the King’s Fund, “Seeing the person in the patient” has concluded that nurses are failing to communicate compassion, respect, and emotional support when providing nursing care.  The authors of this study point out that patients are generally satisfied with the standards of medical and nursing intervention, but often feel on the receiving end of depersonalised and dehumanised care.

The recent NHS review & the subsequent department of health documents including “High Quality Care for All: NHS Next Stage Review” appear to emphasise the position of nurses being at the fore-front of improving the quality of patient care.  However, at the same time significance is equally afforded to the need for nurse to strive to achieve targets and outcome measures in other areas of their clinical practice that may impinge on their time and ability to provide holistic patient-centred care.

Maben & Griffiths (2008:5) suggest that “nurses have lost their way while navigating the complexity of the increasingly technical environment that is contemporary health care.”   Undoubtedly, technological advances, organisational, and educational changes have influenced the position and role of nurses in the provision of healthcare. 

Yet, within this fast-paced technological world has there been a shift in the central primacy of care and caring within the ideology and values of nursing practice? 

The nature of caring appears synonymous within the core qualities, skills, and competencies of nursing practice.  Effective communication, listening, conveying empathy, integrity, and positive regard are some of the interpersonal attributes at the heart of caring relationships. 

However, it has been suggested that “the bureaucratisation of health has contributed to the hospital setting and care becoming a soulless, anonymous, wasteful, and inefficient medical factory performing medicine as medicine demands it, not as the patient needs it”.  (Porter 2002 cited in Goodrich & Cornwell 2008: 1).

Is it always possible for nurses and their allied healthcare colleagues to provide the highest level of individualised care that meets the multi-factorial needs and wants of the individual and their family?  Furthermore, what are the central drivers influencing receivers (patients) and providers (nurses) experience of care?  Finally, as professionals with a vested interest, how can we engender the values of compassionate and personalised care in today’s student nurses that form the fulcrum of their future practice?  Remember, they are the workforce of tomorrow.