The effect of immersive workplace experience on undergraduate nurses' mental health clinical confidence
Preregistration education needs to ensure that student nurses are properly trained with the required skills and knowledge, and have the confidence to work with people who have a mental illness. With increased attention on non-traditional mental health clinical placements, further research is required to determine the effects of non-traditional mental health clinical placements on mental health clinical confidence. The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of a non-traditional mental health clinical placement on mental health nursing clinical confidence compared to nursing students undergoing traditional clinical placements. Using the Mental Health Nursing Clinical Confidence Scale, the study investigated the relative effects of two placement programmes on the mental health clinical confidence of 79 nursing students. The two placement programmes included a non-traditional clinical placement of Recovery Camp and a comparison group that attended traditional clinical placements. Overall, the results indicated that, for both groups, mental health placement had a significant effect on improving mean mental health clinical confidence, both immediately upon conclusion of placement and at the 3-month follow up. Students who attended Recovery Camp reported a significant positive difference, compared to the comparison group, for ratings related to communicating effectively with clients with a mental illness, having a basic knowledge of antipsychotic medications and their side-effects, and providing client education regarding the effects and side-effects of medications. The findings suggest that a unique clinical placement, such as Recovery Camp, can improve and maintain facets of mental health clinical confidence for students of nursing.