Mental health and inmates

20 May 2020

Working as a Registered Nurse at Yatala Labour Prison, Jeff McMullen on a daily basis provides primary health care for clients who can often have mental health issues as well.

Jeff saw an opportunity to help these clients through the ANMF (SA Branch) Mental Health Nursing Start-Up Scholarships, which fully fund the first three modules of a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course as a pathway into post-graduate studies.

“I’ve always had an inkling for it, mental health, and as I’ve got older I’ve become more passionate about it because it underpins everything we do as health professionals,” Jeff says.

Mental health is one of the most understaffed nursing workforces in South Australia. The current chronic shortage means there are many career opportunities for Registered Nurses wishing to move into this challenging and rewarding area.

ANMF (SA Branch) has teamed up with Flinders University to make it easier than ever for nurses to transition into post-graduate studies in mental health, among a range of other specialties.

This initiative provides nurses with more streamlined access to post-graduate studies at Flinders University by enabling them to springboard from a related CPD course at our Australian Nursing and Midwifery Education Centre (ANMEC).

“I am doing the first three modules of the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing at Flinders Medical Centre largely because it incited my interest as it enabled me to learn how to conduct a Mental State Examination, a skill which I have since used consistently in my clinical role at Yatala,’’ Jeff says.

“I am hoping that by extending my knowledge and undertaking this further study I will be better able to provide more relevant and compassionate mental health care for clients who are in most need.

“I truly believe that if we are able to better understand our clients’ mental health needs then we are in a better position to provide appropriate care in a compassionate and understanding way.

“It is essentially all about listening, giving a client time to tell their story, validating their story and respecting what they have shared with you.

“Essentially this is the type of clinician I am and want to aspire to continue being, and why being awarded this scholarship has been such a wonderful opportunity as it will allow me to do so through this further study.

“An opportunity that I would encourage other nurses to pursue, thanks ANMF.’’

The ANMF (SA Branch) thanks all members who submitted applications. In addition to Jeff, scholarships have also been awarded to six other people.

To take advantage of the ANMF (SA Branch)-Flinders University partnership arrangement, please complete the Expression of Interest form and our administration team will be in contact with you.