Getting psychosocial interventions into mental health nursing practice: a survey of skill use and perceived benefits to service users

MP Butler, M Begley, Kader Parahoo, S Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. To investigate the use of psychosocial interventions by mental health nursesfollowing training and perceived benefits to service users.Background. Psychosocial interventions are recommended to support the recoveryof persons with enduring mental illness. Despite two decades of postgraduatetraining in psychosocial interventions internationally, implementation challengesstill remain.Design. A cross-sectional exploratory, descriptive survey was employed.Methods. A survey was mailed to the total population of nurses (n = 58)working in some health regions in Ireland who completed training in psychosocialinterventions between 2005–2010. Data were collected between November 2011–January 2012, yielding a response rate of 64%. Descriptive and correlationalstatistics were used to analyse the data.Results. There were statistically significant increases in the use of psychosocialinterventions post training. Cognitive behavioural therapy and family interventionswere the least used interventions. Assessment and outcome measures, concordancetherapy and relapse prevention were preferential interventions. Perceived outcomesfor service users were awareness of relapse indicators, enhanced coping skills andfewer admissions. Case load demands, lack of access to supervision and timeconstraints prevented implementation. Free text comments indicated a dissonancebetween generic nursing roles and implementation of structured psychosocialinterventions in practice.Conclusions. The findings indicate a requirement for nursing leadership to legitimizepsychosocial interventions as core nursing work. For service users to experience thistype of nursing, we propose the nomination of dedicated psychosocial interventionnurses to multidisciplinary teams. Support through guidelines, clinical supervisionand audit by senior nurse managers is critical to implementation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)866-877
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Apr 2014


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