- Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services
- July 2011 - Volume 49 · Issue 7: 35-42
The worldwide burden of mental illness is increasing. Strong leadership is increasingly emerging as a core component of good mental health nursing. The aim of this article is to demonstrate the ways in which nurses can provide strong and consistent leadership in a values-based practice environment that embodies respect for individuals’ dignity and self-determination within a community residential mental health service, which provides a structural foundation for effective action. This is accomplished through the presentation of two vignettes, which highlight how the seemingly impossible becomes possible when an economic paradigm such as agency theory is exchanged for a sociological and psychological paradigm found in leadership as stewardship at the point of service. It is through stronger nursing leadership in mental health that stigma and discrimination can be reduced and better access to treatments and services can be gained by those with mental illness. Nurse leadership in mental health services is not new, but it is still relatively uncommon to see residential services for “high needs” individuals being led by nurses. How nurses meet the challenges faced by mental health services are often at the heart of effective leadership skills and strategies.
Dr. Hughes is Facilitator, World Health Organization Pacific Islands Mental Health Network (WHO PIMHnet), Adjunct Professor, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, and Visiting Professor, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; and Dr. Bamford is Head of School of Nursing, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support. The authors thank Kevin Hughes, Clinical Manager, and the residents and staff of Hillcrest Lodge.
Address correspondence to Frances A. Hughes, RN, DNurs, ONZM, FNZCMHN, FACMHN, WHO PIMHnet Facilitator and Adjunct Professor, Auckland University of Technology, PO Box 58026, Whitby, 5245, Wellington, New Zealand; e-mail: .email@example.com