People with experience of having a mental health diagnosis and of using mental health services may in some ways make better instructors for mental health nurses because they reduce stigma and strengthen students’ understanding of how nursing can best contribute to positive outcomes, according to a study in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.
A team of researchers from Australia’s Central Queensland University School of Nursing did a comparative evaluation of the impacts on 201 students of university-level mental health nursing courses taught by a regular instructor or by someone with lived experience.
“In both cohorts, attitudes were measured via self-report, before and after the course, and changes were investigated through within-subjects t-tests,” wrote the researchers. “The lived experience-led course demonstrated statistically-significant positive changes in intentions to pursue mental health nursing and a decrease in negative stereotypes, which were not observed in the traditional course.”
Lived-experience participation in nurse education: Reducing stigma and enhancing popularity (Happell, Brenda et al. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. Volume 23, Issue 5, pages 427–434, October 2014. DOI: 10.1111/inm.12077)