Title

Can mental health nurses diagnose in Australia

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Cashin, A, Buckley, T, Watson, N, Newman, C, Carey, M & Waters, C 2010, 'Can mental health nurses diagnose in Australia?', Issues in Mental Health Nursing, vol. 31, no. 12, pp. 819-823.

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

The naming of health related conditions has been the traditional province of the medical profession. Occasional concessions have been made in specific narrow domains, such as psychology or speech-related pathology, but diagnosis typically has been seen as medical practitioner business. “Ownership” of language is worthy of critical discussion.

The answer to why the tradition has persisted, and nurses have invested lots of energy within the established rules of who can say what, may well be found through the lens of psycholinguistics. Nurses can name states of health and ill health using the currently accepted nomenclature. The authors argue that there is an unconditional “yes,” to the question of can nurses diagnose, as long as they are not holding themselves out to be a medical practitioner by doing so. Additionally it is argued that advanced practice nurses must diagnose in order to fulfill their role as advanced practice clinicians.