This paper presents findings from an ethics approved phenomenological study exploring mental health nursing roles and capabilities under the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) in two regional centres. Findings will be used to generate critical discussion on profes- sional identity factors such as clinical autonomy, nursing capabilities and effective interventions for young people. Happell, Palmer, and Tennent (2010) identify that the MHNIP offers a greater range of service provi- sion than has been previously available. Indications are that nurses working within the MHNIP are in fact offering a range of interventions beyond what was initially envisioned through providing effective talk based interventions, rather than restricting their practice to more his- torical roles of risk assessment, mental state examination and generic support. Mental health nurses offer unique contributions to the delivery of talk based interventions (Hurley, 2009). Despite this, perceptions of some referrers toward mental health nurse capability and the funding rules under the MHNIP may be seen as barriers to nurses undertaking such formal talk based therapy roles. Findings show that organisations such as Headspace offer pathways to address these barriers and to entrench talk based therapy roles into wider understandings of mental health nurse identity, to the benefit of service users.
Hurley, J, Lakeman, R & Angking, DR 2012, 'Cut from a different cloth: mental health nurse identity under the MHNiP in Headspace', paper presented to Australian College of Mental Health Nursing 38th International Conference: The fabric of life, Darwin, NT, 3-6 October.