The Challenge

A Canadian provincial health department sought to strengthen its educational program for registered nurses who needed further training in the field of mental health care. This undertaking entailed a review of the educational requirements, and recommendations to improve the development and delivery of the training program.

The project’s training needs analysis component included:

  • defining competencies required to achieve desired standards of care for mental health clients
  • identifying different or unique nursing competencies for mental health care based on practice environments
  • determining nurses’ preferences regarding access to, format and methods of the educational program

The Solution

The training needs analysis was based on two existing documents:

  • The Canadian Standards of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Practice
  • Exam Prep Guide: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Exam List of Competencies

The clinical professional competencies were established at the national level and identified best practice standards. They provided an excellent framework for consultations with psychiatric/mental health nurses to determine program core content. Province-wide focus groups and interviews with key informants/senior nursing leaders were conducted to provide valuable input within actual practice context. The findings would be used for curriculum development of the entry-level psychiatric mental health program, and recommendations for a program delivery model.