Released potential: a qualitative study of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program in Australia
Hurley, J, Browne, G, Lakeman, R, Angking, D & Cashin, A 2013, 'Released potential: a qualitative study of the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program in Australia', International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 17-23.
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The Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) is a Commonwealth Government funded scheme that supports people living with a mental illness. Despite its significance, the program has received little attention from researchers nor critical discussion within the published work. This paper first critically examines the MHNIP from the contexts of identities, autonomy, and capabilities of mental health nurses (MHN) and then reports on findings from a qualitative study that explored the experiences of staff working in the MHNIP. Key findings from this qualitative study include four main themes indicating that both the program and the nurses working within it are addressing the unmet needs of people living with a mental illness. They achieve these ends by adopting holistic and consumer-centred approaches and by providing a wide range of therapeutic interventions. As well, the MHN in this study valued the freedom and autonomy of their practice outside public health services and the respect received from colleagues working in other disciplines. Findings suggest that MHN within the study were experienced as having autonomous identities and roles that may be in contrast to the restrictive understandings of MHN capability within the program's funding rules.