Psychiatric mental health nursing: Why 2011 brings a pivotal moment

Kathleen R. Delaney


Psychiatric nurses in the United States (US) stand at the edge of a changing mental health care landscape.  Federal initiatives are moving into place; ones that aim to increase access to care, place a greater emphasis on prevention and wellness, and position recovery as the focus of mental health treatment. The Psychiatric Mental Health (PMH) specialty is at a pivotal moment of choice: it can organize around a future vision of PMH nursing or can silently acquiesce to a marginalized position. At this pivotal time, PMH nurses must build a greater presence in national workforce dialogue and convey the need for nursing in mental health care service delivery; a policy message build on the PMH nurses ability to provide access to safe and quality mental health care and substance use services. This paper discusses how to put these strategies into place via workforce development, strategic alliances, and critical conceptual shifts.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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