Rise of the zombie institution, the failure of mental health nursing leadership, and mental health nursing as a zombie category
In this paper, we propose that mental health nursing has become a zombie category, at least in the Australian context. Mental health nursing is a concept that has lost any real explanatory or conceptual power, yet nevertheless persists in public discourse and the collective imagination. In recent decades, powerful forces have contributed to the zombification of the mental health nursing workforce and the academy. An increase in medical hegemony, the ascendancy of allied health in mental health service provision, the need for uncritical and servile workers, protocol-driven work practices, and a failure of leadership to mobilize any substantial resistance to these trends have enabled the infection to spread. The recognition of zombification, active resistance against the forces that conspire to cause it, and the cultivation of genuine conscientious critical thought and debate offer the only hope of survival of mental health nursing as a thriving specialty.