Implementation and evaluation of a mental health program for Ni Vanuatu nurses

S. Webster, J. Allnutt, P. Boss


Objective: This is a case study, examined in order to understand the issues associated with implementing a mental health nursing program in Vanuatu. The participant was a registered nurse identified as leader in nursing practice, with advanced knowledge and skills in mental health for his role in Vanuatu. This paper also explores the perceptions and experiences of the participant as part of his preparation for mental health education.

Method: Using a case study design, quantitative data was collected using semi-structured interviews and researcher journaling. Data were analysed using an inductive thematically approach. Mixed methods and concurrent data analysis contributed to the rigor of this study.

Results: A Ni Vanuatu nurse (Fellow) was sponsored by the Australian Government Overseas Aid Program (AusAID) Fellowship to participate in a short-term, non-award study program of mental health theory and practice over 18 weeks in the Australian setting. The program enabled him to join 2nd year undergraduate nursing students undertaking the core Mental Health Unit at ACU. The findings indicate that the Fellow valued the opportunity to practice mental health nursing activities in a supervised and mentored environment that promoted active learning for developing clinical competence and increased confidence in mental health practice. Of particular value was the ability to undertake a range of clinical attachment opportunities that would not have been possible in Vanuatu.

Conclusion: Vanuatu has a significant and identified deficit in mental health services, with little funding, infrastructure, resources or staffing allocated. The relevance of the introduction of this program, in a country where nursing education still takes place at certificate level, where there was little understanding of mental health conditions and interventions and where there were no real opportunities for clinical attachment or mentorship, cannot be understated.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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