Marketing mental health nursing on Australian schools of nursing websites: is mental health nursing positioned 'between the flags?'
McGarry, D, Cashin, A & Fowler, C 2011, 'Marketing mental health nursing on Australian schools of nursing websites: is mental health nursing positioned 'between the flags?'', paper presented to Australian College of Mental Health Nursing 37th International Conference: mental health nursing: swimming between the flags?, Gold Coast, Qld., 4-7 October.
Marketing has become a staple expression to distinguish unique and preferable features of a great variety of products in society. Since the 1980s this has included tertiary education. Marketing has secured overseas revenue as a signifi cant funding source for the tertiary education sector and the Australian economy. Nursing, as a player in the tertiary education arena, is also engaged in marketing. Marketing was not unknown to Nursing. Prior to education’s move to the tertiary sector, individual schools of nursing would engage in a range of marketing techniques to distinguish themselves. Hospitals found it was critical for the success of recruitment that their education and training programmes were differentiated favourably from those of competitors. Current marketing strategies for Schools of Nursing include the use of web-based profi les. A review of the features of the websites of the Australian Schools of Nursing was undertaken in early 2011. Thirty–eight (38) Schools of Nursing were recognised through the membership of the Council of Deans of Nursing & Midwifery of Australia and New Zealand. All had publically accessible web-sites that performed dual roles of marketing to potential students and servicing existing students. The marketing position of these websites was examined from two perspectives – that of the profi le of high fi delity human patient simulation and the profi le of mental health nursing. The focus was to contrast these two aspects of comprehensive nursing preparation in public portrayal. Were Australian Schools of Nursing seeking to distinguish themselves as a preferable choice to future students by highlighting these features of their curriculum? Were they combining high fi delity human patient simulation with mental health teaching and learning? This paper will present the fi ndings and suggests that mental health nursing might not be ‘swimming between the fl ags’ of marketing approaches favoured by Australian Schools of Nursing.