The provision of physical health care by nurses to young people with first episode psychosis: A cross-sectional study
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© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd What is known on the subject?: This paper addresses an identified gap in the international literatures related to physical health care of young people with first episode psychosis. Previous studies indicate that nurses’ skills, knowledge and attitudes influence physical health outcomes for service users. The educational preparation of nurses influences their physical health care nursing practices. Nurses who have a high level of skills, knowledge and positive attitudes towards the provision of physical health care are more likely to initiate this care to young people experiencing first episode psychosis Young people experiencing first episode psychosis are more likely to have physical health comorbidities and less likely to receive treatment for them than young people in the general population. What does this study add to existing knowledge?: Psychiatric/mental health educated nurses are more likely to provide routine physical health care, for example checking that service users have a general practitioner for health care follow-ups, while comprehensive/generalist educated nurses also consider the young person's more complex physical health care needs such as smoking cessation and sexual health. The length of nurses’ employment in mental health did not have any significant influence on their physical health care practices to young people. What are the implications for practice?: Nurses working in the mental health setting provide physical health care to young people experiencing first episode psychosis, so it is important to determine if their educational preparation affects their physical health care practices. Provision of professional education opportunities and resources will enable nurses to improve their knowledge, skills and increase their awareness of the importance of providing comprehensive physical health care to young people experiencing first episode psychosis. Education providers need to emphasize the importance of providing physical health care to young people as part of mental health content in undergraduate nursing curricula. Abstract: Background Registered nurses working in the area of mental health complete either a psychiatric/mental health or comprehensive/generalist nursing program, and their education preparation influences their physical health care nursing practices. The differences in educational preparation may be a contributory factor to nurses’ delivery of physical health care to young people experiencing first episode psychosis. This paper addresses an identified gap in nursing practices related to physical health care of young mental health service users. Aim To examine the relationship between the educational preparation of nurses and attitudes, confidence level, perceived barriers and physical health care nursing practices. Method A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2015 with 207 nurses using the modified Physical Health Attitude Scale for Mental Health Nurses (PHASe). Results Comprehensive/generalist prepared nurses were more likely to provide education on heart disease prevention and sexual health and support young people to stop cigarette smoking than psychiatric/mental health nurses. However, as the length of service progresses, the propensity for psychiatric/mental health nurses to be involve in smoking cessation increases. Implication for practice It is important to identify how nurses’ educational preparation affects their nursing practices so as to address the gaps in their physical health literacy.
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