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Mental health curriculum in pre-registration nursing degrees

The aim of this project is to improve the skills and knowledge of undergraduate nursing students in relation to mental health issues through the development and implementation of mental health curriculum in the undergraduate nursing degree.

The Bachelor of Science (Nursing) course at ECU prepares graduates to be registered with the Nurses and Midwives Board of Western Australia to practice as a comprehensive registered nurse. This three year full-time or equivalent part-time course comprises twenty four units of study: eighteen theory units, and six practicum units.

The mental health specific Unit: Mental Health Problems and Disorders was taught in Year Two, semester 1. The Unit consisted of nine, 2 hour lectures and nine, 2 hour tutorials. The assessment for the unit was a mid semester assignment and an end of year exam. The two week practicum (80 hours in total) was in year three, semester one.

The project was designed to achieve the aim through:

  • undertaking research and consultation to determine enhancements to the current mental health unit or other relevant nursing units;
  • revising and/or developing a new mental health unit/s and the mental health content in other relevant nursing units;
  • incorporating mental health scenario based learning and content applicable to settings outside tertiary teaching hospitals;
  • developing an implementation and evolution strategy; and
  • promoting the curriculum changes to industry and students.


Professor Cobie Rudd
Mr David Buchanan

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