Reflecting on holistic nursing: the contribution of an academic with lived experience of mental health service use
The educational preparation of registered nurses is presumed to reflect a holistic approach with emphasis on the bio-psycho-social model of care. The broader literature suggests this goal is not always realised. The aim of this study is to present the views, experiences, and perceptions of undergraduate nursing students who were taught by an academic with a lived experience of mental health service use. In particular, we wanted to look at the expected impact of this approach to learning on their nursing practice. A qualitative, exploratory approach was used, involving in-depth individual interviews with 12 undergraduate nursing students completing the course, “Recovery for Mental Health Nursing Practice,” as part of a major in mental health nursing in a university in Queensland, Australia. Students were asked to reflect upon and discuss their experiences of being taught by a person with lived experience of mental health service use. Data were analysed following Colaizzi's steps to identify the main themes. The three main themes were (1) Recovery—Bringing Holistic Nursing to Life; (2) Influencing Practice; and (3) Gaining Self-Awareness through Course Assessment: Challenge and Opportunity. These themes suggest an appreciation for holistic nursing and an increased capacity for reflective understanding. The responses from participants suggest the Recovery course had a significant impact on their attitudes to nursing and that their nursing practice would be positively enhanced as a consequence.