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Mental health nurse education: a contemporary view in the debate between generic and specialist approaches.

Warrender, Dan; Ramsay, Mike; Hurley, John


Mike Ramsay

John Hurley


Many mental health nurses and academics believe that the Nursing and Midwifery Council's standards of proficiency for registered nurses, published in 2018, have negatively affected mental health nurse education in the UK. Serious concerns had been raised before the implementation of these standards, but warnings were not heeded and many people think that the ‘dilution' of mental health nurse education that they once feared has now become reality. This article presents some of the arguments made by mental health nurses and academics against a generic approach to education, or genericism. The authors suggest that there is now a debate about these issues in the profession, as demonstrated by the emergence of a grassroots movement called Mental Health Deserves Better, and that mental health nurses need to resist the loss of specialist education and look towards the future of the profession.


WARRENDER, D., RAMSAY, M. and HURLEY, J. 2023. Mental health nurse education: a contemporary view in the debate between generic and specialist approaches. Mental health practice [online], 26(5), e1663. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 11, 2023
Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2023
Publication Date Sep 5, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 13, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 5, 2024
Journal Mental health practice
Print ISSN 1465-8720
Electronic ISSN 2047-895X
Publisher RCN Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 5
Article Number e1663
Item Discussed HURLEY, J. and RAMSAY, M. 2008. Mental health nursing: sleepwalking towards oblivion? Mental health practice [online], 11(10), pages 14-17. Available from:
Keywords Mental health nursing; NMC future nurse standards; Nurse education; Mental health deserves better
Public URL
Additional Information The accepted manuscript for this article uses the title "Mental health nursing education: waking up on the edge of oblivion" and has the following abstract: "Mental health nursing in the UK saw its preregistration education impacted by the introduction of the Future Nurse standards, introduced by the Nursing and Midwifery Council in 2018. Whilst concerns were raised during their development and implementation, the fears of many mental health nurse academics have been realized with both pre-registration curricula and practice assessment documents being criticized as diluting the specialist education of those who will become registered mental health nurses. This paper presents key arguments and debates, and also includes a reflection from John Hurley and Mike Ramsay, revisiting their seminal paper 'Mental health nursing: sleepwalking into oblivion' which warned of similar issues 15 years ago."


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