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NURS502 Mental Health Nursing

Nursing people who have a mental health condition.

The aim of this paper is for the student to develop an in-depth understanding of the theory and practice of mental health nursing. Students will critically analyse understandings of mental health and illness and develop psychotherapeutic skills to best facilitate patient-centred care.

Paper title Mental Health Nursing
Paper code NURS502
Subject Nursing
EFTS 0.125
Points 15 points
Teaching period 1st Non standard period (16 January 2023 - 7 July 2023) (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,451.50
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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NURS 441 and NURS 442 and NURS 444 and NURS 446
Limited to
An undergraduate degree in any discipline with at least three years' full-time study and a B average in the final two years of the degree.
Teaching staff

Paper Co-ordinator: Lynere Wilson

Teaching Arrangements

Taught face-to face on the Christchurch campus six hours per week to mid-April, preparing students for the mental health clinical placement, which will be undertaken during the first semester.


Chambers M. (2017) Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: The craft of caring (3rd ed). Apple Academic Publishing

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of cultural and social issues on a person's mental health ability
  • Undertake and document comprehensive, client-centered assessments utilising nursing/mental health frameworks
  • Undertake both a mental status examination and a comprehensive mental health assessment with a client in their care and be able to provide a sound clinical rationale for the assessment model used
  • Develop a clinical formulation of the client's mental health issues that incorporates an understanding of precipitating, perpetuating, presenting and protective issues that have impacted on the client's current mental state
  • Provide safe mental health nursing care that incorporates principles of risk assessment and management
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of psychotherapeutic approaches to mental health nursing care (i.e. medical, interpersonal, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioural; and how these can be implemented in practice to best meet clients' needs)
  • Demonstrate a sound knowledge of psychopharmacological principles and skills in medication management
  • Competently prepare, administer and evaluate the effectiveness of medications under the supervision of an appropriately registered health professional
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the therapeutic relationship in mental health nursing practice and demonstrate competence in engaging with clients, assessing their needs and implementing psychotherapeutic strategies
  • Demonstrate application of the principles of cultural safety in line with policies of the Nursing Council of New Zealand and the University's commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi
  • Demonstrate safe, professional and ethical nursing practice standards in this clinical setting
  • Practice within relevant legislative requirements/regulations and codes of practice within mental health
  • Demonstrate evidence of the application of critical reasoning skills to practice
  • Communicate effectively with clients, families/whānau and members of the health team, both verbally and in writing, to reach the most appropriate outcomes
  • Provide nursing care based on critical reflection and an application of evidence into practice
  • Demonstrate critical awareness of their own level of competence and responsibility, evaluate the effectiveness of their own interventions and actively seek learning opportunities

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1st Non standard period (16 January 2023 - 7 July 2023)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system