Evidence-Based Health Care: Mental Health Care


The Nurses and Midwives Board of Australia has the responsibility to protect the public by ensuring that all registered nurses or midwives are qualified and competent enough to practice (Brookes, Davidson, Daly, & Hancock, 2004). All the nurses should, therefore, strive on their own to satisfy these standards.

The Health Practitioner Regulation made this rule a national law for all states, and the board strictly undertakes this role. The national board set standards and professional codes of work that all nurses and midwives must meet before registration and acceptance as competent (Broyles, 2012). This paper discusses evidence-based health care with a closer look on mental health care.

The paper will also incorporate the scope of registered nursing practice, standards of nursing and health care practice and legislative requirements necessary for the treatment of patients using a case study. In addition, the discussion of the goals of patient care and patients’ needs is inclusive. The paper will also evaluate the strategies of evidence-based communications and determine the appropriate supervision, delegation and effective monitoring of patients.

Mental Health Care

Every disorder has its signs and symptoms. For mental disorders, a patient must exhibit certain signs to receive mental health care. These signs and symptoms include paranoia, sudden mood changes, depression, severe anxiety, anger, suicidal thoughts, hypersensitivity, lack of motivation social withdrawal, lack of concentration, sleeplessness, fear, changes in appetite and irritability among others (Chang & Hancock, 2004).

Medical practitioners will be in search of these signs to confirm a patient’s mental status. A keen observation of the above symptoms and signs, clearly shows that they are either feelings of emotion or moods.

In the given case study, Angela experiencing most of these symptoms. She is also detached from reality and is having trouble staying at home. She is hopeless have described suicidal thoughts. Angela is afraid that she is loosing control of her life. Mental disorders are caused by various factors. In angela’s case, she is having a hard time to deal with some occurrences in her life. She seems to have not had a chance to grieve the death of her friend friend while she was young.

The ending of her relationship and the unexpected death of her father while she was expectant caused the depression. She did not have time to grieve the loss of her father since she was almost due for delivery. Grieving is a process that has no time limits, therefore, Angela should dedicate her time in grieving and taking care of her son. It would have been good if she had consulted speciaists or joined grieving groupsto help her deal with the loss (Chang et al., 2006).

Assessment and Consultations Requirements of Registered Nurses

Registered nurses should uphold the standards of patient care during consultations. They should conduct the necessary physical examinations on patients to confirm their mental status. They should enquire from the patient to establish their reasons for seeking treatment as they state the symptoms they have been experiencing (Davidson, Elliott & Daly, 2006).

Nurses should also enquire and assess the medical history of the patient to confirm that the symptoms had not presented themselves earlier. Assessing the family history is helpful in finding out if other family members have experienced similar signs and symptoms. This process is essential, as mental disorders can be hereditary. In addition, nurses are free to consult other professionals in the department of health care and give their reasons for consulting. Allowing Consultation ensures appropriate care for patients.

Ealier diagnosis of Angela’s depression would have prevented her admission into the mental facility (Halcomb, Patterson & Davidson, 2006). It is, therefore, important for medical practitioners to assess the needs of patients with care and note even the smallest details as they can be helpful in preventing a bad future.

Scope of Practice and Health Care Standards

The current scope of practice for registered nurses involves a combination of functions, roles, decision-making capacity, responsibilities and the competence of nurses. The scope of practice gets influence from policies, education, legislation, standards and the population’s health needs. It requires a registered nurse to evaluate the patient comprehensively in efforts to achieve the patient’s desired outcome (Healy& McKay, 2009).

Angela received a referral to a psychologists when she displayed symptoms of acute stress disorder. The care she needed was not within the scope of nursing practice, hence, the referral. Eventually, she landed in a facility that handles mental cases as she was afraid of hurting her son. The concern for the well-being of her son is evident in her actions. Nurses can enjoy the full scope of practice when they increase their skills, knowledge and competence.

Upholding of the standards of nursing and health care is essential when treating and taking care of patients. The standards provided by the Nursing and Midwifery Board dictate that nurses should provide care to patients and ensure that they comply with the legislation and laws that govern the nursing practice (Hegney, 2005). Nurses should ensure the well-being of patients and protect them from any harm.

In the case study, Angela needs monitoring since she experiences panic attacks, which show up through difficulty in breathing and chest pains. Angela requires constant monitoring given that she has been having suicide thoughts. It is the responsibility of the nurses to take care of her and prevent occurrences that might harm her. Legislative requirements for people with mental disorders call for the detention of people who are mentally ill to protect them from hurting themselves. It is, therefore, important that the nurse responsible for Angela’s welfare ensures that she is detained.

Goals of patient care

The goals of patient care include delivering quality and appropriate care for patients. Mental health care aims at giving people with mental illnesses productive lives and good mental health through education and advocating for checkups. Education will promote mental health care among Australians as they will present themselves in hospitals when they observe the symptoms (Jackson & Daly, 2004).

To take care of Angela, the nurse in charge needs to come up with a plan that helps minimize risks that she might face. The nurse should agree with Angela on the best methods that could keep her safe. She should establish potential risks that Angela might face while in the ward using evidence-based strategies. These strategies include finding out Angela’s interests.

In addition, the nurse will use the most current and efficient evidence to make decisions on ways of taking care of the patient and incorporate it with her clinical expertise and competence to add up to the above strategy. It is appropriate that Angela remains in her room as a measure of protecting other patients. In addition, no sharp objects should be in the room as she might use them to hurt herself. In case patients share a room, there should be a restrictionfor patients to stay in their beds (Jones & Cheek, 2006). If necessary, nurses may use cuffs to restrict them. This restriction is a necessary measure to protect all patients and medical practitioners.

Appropriate and Competent Health Professionals Essential in Health Care

Nurses looking after mentally ill patients should possess a number of skills that will give assurance of recovery to the patient. A registered nurse needs to show extensive competence as the standards of the Nurses and Midwives Board require (Kemp, Harris & Comino, 2005). Characteristics of a competent health care professional are inclusive of higher education that allows them to give better care to patients. The nurses should also be responsible in order to provide quality health care to patients.

They should have the ability to give the amount and type of care that a patient requires. In the case study, Angela needs a nurse who is ready to give her company by listening and encouraging her as she struggles with depression. It is important to note that nurses in charge of patients with mental disorders should be attentive to their patients.

These patients need someone to listen to them other than giving them care. The nurse should also possess decision-making skills as she holds the responsibility of ensuring the well-being of the patient. An excellent mental health nurse should involve the patient, the family, other medical practitioners and the surrounding environment while collecting data in the process of analyzing the patient (Kralik & Van Loon, 2008).

Delegation, Supervision and Monitoring

Delegation involves transferring authority to a competent. During delegation, the professional teaches others the necessary techniques for solving various problems. It also allows the assessment of competence among registered nurses. Appropriate delegation entails the readiness of a person receiving the delegation. The nurse receiving delegation should give feedback of accepting or declining the delegation in time, giving ethical reasons for the decline.

The nurse should also seek guidance from clinical professionals until they have the confidence to perform the activity on their own. This kind of delegation will promote good health care delivery as nurses learn from one another, improving efficiency (Marasovic, Kenney, Elliott & Sindhusake, 2004).

Evidence-based communication strategies

Communication is important when providing health care. Nurses and other clinical experts need to connect with the patients to understand their problems and provide treatment to their ailments. Effective communication requires good communication skills such as listening. Use of technical terms to communicate to patients makes it difficult for them to understand and scares them. It is advisable that nurses use simple terms to give progress reports to patients.

This type of communication makes them remain calm since they can understand what is happening to their health. Nurses should also learn to be empathetic and talk to patients with kindness and sensitivity. Mental patients are very sensitive. Therefore, relaying information to them should also occur in a sensitive way.

Medical professionals should also show good communication skills amongst each other to promote good mental health care to patients and the society in general. Good communication among professionals sets a good example for the patients. Practitioners should learn to give each other turns to speak. Such behaviors ensure proper delivery of information (Smith, 2006).


In conclusion, registered nurses who deal with mental patients have the responsibility to ensure the safety of other patients and that of the mentally ill individuals. They also have the responsibility of making decisions such as those dealing with referral programs.

In all these undertakings, they need to exhibit extensive competence, professionalism and adherence to all the guiding principles of the nursing profession. They also need to show that proper communication between nurses and patients is an important element in nursing since it is one-step in solving problems. Inter-professional and team communication is also important in improving mental health care.


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