Caring for adolescents with acute and complex mental health needs in psychiatric care units (PICU): conceptualising and enabling nursing identity, task and intervention
There is an increased global awareness of the significance of adolescence as the peak age of onset of mental illnesses that persist into adulthood, and the consequent importance of developing effective and timely approaches to prevention, treatment and recovery for this age group (Patton et Al., 2016). Internationally, inpatient units are the most widely used element of acute adolescent mental health services (Hayes et al., 2017) of which nursing is the largest component of the workforce. Yet there is a dearth of research investigating the role of nursing in adolescent mental health inpatient units. Prior to this research project there has been no research focusing on the specialism of adolescent PICU.
PICU staff are at high risk of burnout, which is directly associated with reduced compassion towards patients and poor outcomes. Research focusing on improving nursing staff wellbeing and models of care is therefore important to improve outcomes for young people.
The research study has 3 interrelated elements: 1) A quantitative analysis of the impact of working in Adolescent PICU on nursing staff professional quality of Life; 2) A Qualitative investigation of the nature of mental health nursing identity and task in adolescent PICU; 3) Implementation and evaluation of an original intervention, to support adolescent PICU nurses sustain the therapeutic tasks of their role and to improve wellbeing. The study has resulted in a new conceptual model of mental health nursing within Adolescent PICU. This includes a detailed knowledge of nurse-led interventions and of the contribution that nursing makes to the recovery journey of young people in Adolescent PICU. The staff support intervention has been shown to positively effect staff knowledge and understanding; personal efficacy; therapeutic relationship building; professional identity; and team cohesion. This work has been disseminated through four peer-reviewed publications, informed a staff training package that has been implemented nationally within the partner healthcare organization.
Team: Celeste Foster (PI), Dr Kirsty Smedley (Lead for clinical practice partner)