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Mental health deserves better: resisting the dilution of specialist pre-registration mental health nurse education in the United Kingdom.

Warrender, Dan; Laker, Caroline; Connell, Chris; Jones, Emma; Colwell, Lucy; Cromar-Hayes, Maxine; Monteux, Sebastian


Caroline Laker

Chris Connell

Emma Jones

Lucy Colwell

Maxine Cromar-Hayes

Sebastian Monteux


This article aims to draw attention to increasing genericism in nurse education in the United Kingdom, which sees less specialist mental health education for mental health nursing students and offers opposition to such direction. In 2018, the Nursing and Midwifery Council produced the 'Future Nurse' standards which directed changes to pre-registration nurse education. This led to dissatisfaction from many mental health nurses, specifically regarding reduced mental health content for students studying mental health nursing. Concerns have been raised through public forum and evolved into a grassroots national movement 'Mental Health Deserves Better' (#MHDeservesBetter). This is a position paper which presents the perspective of many mental health nurse academics working at universities within the United Kingdom. Mental health nurse academics collaborated to develop ideas and articulate arguments and perspectives which present a strong position on the requirement for specialist pre-registration mental health nurse education. The key themes explored are; a conflict of ideologies in nursing, no parity of esteem, physical health care needs to be contextualized, the unique nature of mental health nursing, ethical tensions and values conflict, implications for practice, necessary improvements overlooked and the dangers of honesty and academic 'freedom'. The paper concludes by asserting a strong position on the need for a change of direction away from genericism and calls on mental health nurses to rise from the ashes to advocate for a quality education necessary to ensure quality care delivery. The quality of mental health care provided by mental health nurses has many influences, yet the foundation offered through pre-registration education is one of the most valuable. If the education of mental health nurses does not attend to the distinct and unique role of the mental health nurse, standards of mental health care may diminish without assertive action from mental health nurses and allies.


WARRENDER, D., CONNELL, C., JONES, E., MONTEUX, S., COLWELL, L., LAKER, C. and CROMAR-HAYES, M. 2023. Mental health deserves better: resisting the dilution of specialist pre-registration mental health nurse education in the United Kingdom. International journal of mental health nursing [online], Early View. Available from:

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Sep 19, 2023
Online Publication Date Oct 3, 2023
Deposit Date Oct 19, 2023
Publicly Available Date Oct 19, 2023
Journal International journal of mental health nursing
Print ISSN 1445-8330
Electronic ISSN 1447-0349
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Mental health; Nursing; Population health; Psychiatric nursing; Students
Public URL


WARRENDER 2023 Mental health deserves better (EARLY CITE) (423 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Authors. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Early Cite version uploaded 2023.10.19

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