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Using Evidence-based Practice for Quality in Mental Health Care

Module titleUsing Evidence-based Practice for Quality in Mental Health Care
Module codeNURM111
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Miss Jemima Kempton (Convenor)

Mr Kris Deering (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will prepare you for mental health nurse registration caring for people who require specialist mental health care. Grounded in your adult nursing practice and your previous specialist mental health modules, underpinned by the NMC platforms, the NICE guidelines for severe mental health disorders and Exeter’s seven pillars of nursing, this module builds on your understanding and therapeutic skills for people with severe and enduring mental health difficulties. You will critically apply knowledge and skills in recovery orientated practices, evidence-based psychosocial interventions, communication, care planning, co-ordination, harm reduction, violence prevention, risk assessment and management, crisis care and supporting carers.


Module aims - intentions of the module

  • You will develop the knowledge required to support professional registration as a Mental Health Nurse with the NMC.
  • You will embody excellence in Mental Health Nursing knowledge including therapeutic recovery techniques for people with complex mental health conditions.
  • You will prepare for the transition to professional practice as a Mental Health Nurse.

This mental health module of your MSci Nursing builds on your existing knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to further develop your professional Mental Health Nursing practice. You will work across the seven pillars of nursing; patient and public involvement, fundamental essentials of nursing care, evidence for practice; no health without mental health, leadership and management of healthcare, ethics and professionalism and global health.

Patient and public involvement: as an Exeter nurse you will know how to apply the principle of “nothing about us without us” and the concept of recovery in all your interactions with the people you are caring for. You will be taught directly by people with lived experience of severe and enduring mental health problems and their carers. You will develop theoretical knowledge to underpin skills in holistic mental health assessments, including the assessment of a person’s capacity to make sound decisions about their own care and to give or withhold consent. You will critically appraise the knowledge and skills required to advocate in the best interests of people with mental health problems, to support and empower service-users, their families and carers. You will critically evaluate core knowledge and skills for partnership working with people, families and carers, enabling them when reaching decisions about their care to ensure their opinions are heard. PPI

Fundamental essentials of nursing care: as an Exeter nurse you will develop a critical understanding of the core components of excellence in mental health nursing from a variety of perspectives including knowledge and evidence from, medical, biological, psychological, behavioural and social sciences. You will critically appraise concepts of law, ethics and accountability. You will understand the specifics of mental health pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics in medicines. You will focus on knowledge for enhancing patient safety. You will critically evaluate the importance of work and meaningful occupation for mental health. You will understand how to demonstrate knowledge-based excellence in compassionate communication skills, recognising their importance for establishing and maintaining therapeutic relationships, including undertaking psychosocial interventions. F

Evidence for practice: as an Exeter nurse you will critically evaluate the evidence base for recovery practices, psychosocial, behavioural, occupational and pharmacological/physical interventions by identifying, using and producing mental health-specific evidence for practice. You will develop an advanced and critical awareness of the contribution of NICE, systematic reviews, experimental and observational research methods, quality improvement models, and tools and strategies to enhance care and service user-centred outcomes.E

No health without mental health: as an Exeter nurse you will examine the principle of according equal importance to mental and physical health, and critically evaluate the reasons for increased morbidity and mortality in people with mental health problems, including the interplay between long-term physical health conditions and mental health. In essence, for this module you will now think in terms of ‘no mental health without physical health’. You will learn how to support people to address and improve their physical health and critically evaluate ways to help them overcome physical, social and environmental inequalities in health associated with having a mental health problem. You will fully understand and develop a critical understanding and the ability to apply relevant mental health legislation, ethical, professional and legal frameworks. MH

Leadership and Management in Healthcare: as an Exeter nurse you will explore, understand and critically interpret approaches to leadership within mental healthcare. You will develop advanced knowledge in leading care for individual and groups of service users, understand how to apply effective team leadership skills, to contribute to clinical supervision, understand risk and manage it. You will develop an advanced and critical understanding of leadership skills enabling you to confidently lead by example, highlighting opportunities for quality improvement and empowering people to contribute to change. L&M

Global Health: within the overall principles of the recovery movement, as an Exeter nurse you will critically examine the influence and impact of culture and diversity on mental health, in terms of service user experience, disorder prevalence, treatment interventions, prevention, public health strategies, and outcome trajectories. You will critically examine your own role in reducing inequalities in access to care, therapy and outcomes including mortality and morbidity for people with mental health problems in the UK and internationally. GH

Ethics and Professionalism: The Exeter Nurse will demonstrate commitment to professional values - including social justice - and to the flourishing of individuals, families and communities. The Exeter Nurse aspires always to do the right thing and to be of good character. E & P

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate critical understanding of epidemiology and impact of critical and severe episodes mental illnesses on a range of intensive support and treatment options and clinical decision making. E; MH, E&P
  • 2. Critically appraise and synthesise evidence-based approaches to person centred assessment, care and treatment for those with severe and complex physical and mental health problems such as personality disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia/psychosis and addiction MH; F; E, E&P
  • 3. Analyse and synthesise key concepts and debates in mental health including the context in which mental health care is provided and organised, recovery orientated practice and the role of work and meaningful occupation in mental health. MH; PPI; E, E&P
  • 4. Critically evaluate and apply legal, ethical and professional requirements, together with the evidence base, for safe psychopharmacology management and support, crucially appreciating the inclusion of the service user perspective. E; PPI; MH; L&M, E&P
  • 5. Critically evaluate and apply the knowledge and skills for a range of mental health interventions, including health promotion, psychosocial, organisational, family interventions and relapse prevention, leading to quality care within local and national regulatory frameworks. E; MH.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Demonstrate a critical understanding and application of the law, including the Mental Health and Mental Capacity Acts, as it applies to mental health nursing, including the role of advocacy, the relationship between capacity and consent, to work within legal, ethical, professional and other relevant policies. E; MH, E&P
  • 7. Identify an area of clinical practice in which improvement would be beneficial for patient care and utilise the principles of Quality Improvement to identify, recommend and plan an evidence-based change in mental health care services. L&M; E.
  • 8. Critically evaluate and reflect on your professional development as a mental health nurse. L&M; MH

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Evaluate and reflect on the influence of theories and skills that demonstrate clear, logical and authoritative written and verbal communication, understanding the influence of empathy, reflection, accuracy and clarity when communicating to service-users, and other health and social care professionals and workers. F, E&P

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

Your theoretical knowledge will develop through a series of learning activities including lectures, small group seminars, simulation and independent learning. You will work to develop advanced and critical appreciation of the theory and knowledge behind your evolving mental health nursing skills including assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating therapeutic mental health nursing care to support your achievement of the NMC required Standards and Proficiencies (NMC,2018) and the Code (NMC,2015)  set out in your Practice Assessment Document (PAD).

The curriculum will expose you to knowledge that underpins Exeter’s seven pillars, NICE guidelines and the NMC platforms for nursing proficiency, applied explicitly to mental health nursing. You will critically evaluate the knowledge required to underpin the diverse role of mental health nurses in health promotion, illness prevention and treatment. University based learning will explicitly prepare you for nursing care and the individual and family based therapeutic activities. These are activities you will be required to undertake under supervision and in collaboration with nurses, other students and healthcare colleagues as a student mental health nurse in your clinical immersions, preparing you to transition to a professionally registered mental health nurse. The academic content will span medical, behavioural, psychological and social sciences to enable you to critically evaluate the evidence base for and the role of different types of therapeutic interventions.

Four Exeter pillars – Patient and Public Involvement, fundamental essentials of nursing care, no health without mental health and global health – will be at the heart of your learning experience in mental health nursing as you learn to care for people with complex co-morbidities and healthcare needs. Core to this will be the underpinning theories and knowledge to deliver behavioural, organisation and psychosocial interventions.

The other three Exeter pillars – evidence for practice, ethics and professionalism and leadership and management – are critical in year four as your practice develops and you prepare to manage caseloads and a nursing team. An important aspect of year four is the ability to critically analyse mental health practice from a wider perspective and draw on local and national policies to inform care, challenge practice and lead quality improvement. Key components of the curriculum will include evidence-based information (including clinical simulations) about family interventions for psychosis – including carer focussed education and support – implementing change management, working as part of a complex team, managing care within different staffing and skill mix contexts and mental health clinical supervision.

The learning and teaching hours contribute to the NMC requirement for sufficient academic learning hours for programmes leading to a second registration. The theory module equates to 412 hours which is greater than the nominal number of hours associated with a 30 credit module.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities76Problem Based Learning (small group work)
Scheduled learning and teaching activities 65Assessment and communication simulation
Scheduled learning and teaching activities25Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activities16Seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching activities7Professional tutorials
Guided independent study100Reading and preparation for sessions
Guided independent study62Preparation for assessments
Guided independent study61Preparation for psychopharmacology SAQ examination


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Pharmacology examination preparation (in-class activities)n/a4Verbal
Debate on application of evidence to improve quality in specialist mental health care2 hour session – in class activity1,2,4,6Peer written and staff verbal feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critical Analysis essay703000 words1,2-3,5-9Written and verbal feedback
Pharmacology examination 302 hour exam4Written and verbal feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Critical Analysis essay (70%)Essay (3000 words) (70%)1-3,5-9Up to 4 weeks after results received
Pharmacology examination (30%)2 hour exam (30%)4Up to 4 weeks after results received

Re-assessment notes

Student must pass all items of assessment and demonstrate professionalism and Fitness to Practice, to be recommended for Mental Health and Adult registration with the NMC. All coursework reassessments must be revised versions of the original assessment.  


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bickley, L.S (2017) Bate’s Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking. Wolters Kluwer.

Bickley, L.S (2017) Bate’s Pocket Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking. Wolters Kluwer.

Bradshaw, T. and Mairs, H. (eds.) (2017) Health Promotion and Wellbeing in people with Mental Health problems. Sage publications.

Callaghan, P and Gamble C (2015) Oxford Handbook of Mental Health Nursing. Oxford University Press.Chambers, M. (eds.) (2017) Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: The craft of Caring. Routledge.

Chambers, M. (eds.) (2017) Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: The craft of Caring. Routledge.

Farrand, P (2020) Low Intensity CBT Skills and Interventions: A Practitioners Guide. London: SAGE

Gallagher, A (2020) Slow Ethics and the Art of Care. Emerald Points.

Jasper, M., Rosser. M., Mooney, G. (2013) (eds.) Professional Development, Reflection and Decision Making in Nursing and Health Care. Wiley Blackwell.

Mairs, H. (2017) Revisiting negative symptoms: A guide to psychosocial interventions for mental health practitioners. Palgrave MacMillan.

Norma, I. and Ryrie, I. (eds.) (2013) The Art and Science of Mental Health Nursing: Principles and Practice. McGraw-Hill Education.

Schon, D.A. (2006) the Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Ashgate.

Turkington, D., Rathod, S. et al. (2008). Back to Life: Back to normality; Cognitive therapy, recovery and psychosis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Waller, D.G., Sampson, A.P et., al. (2014) Medical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Saunders, Elsevier.

Wright, K. M and McKeown (2018)  Essentials of Mental Health Nursing, Sage Publications

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

NICE Quality standards for psychosis (2016)

Nursing and Midwifery Council:

Royal College of Nursing:

Department of Health:

National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence:

World Health Organisation:

Healthtalk online:

WeNurses (@WeNurses) · Twitter:

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources




Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association

Behaviour Research and Therapy

British Journal of Mental Health Nursing

British Journal of Psychiatry

Evidence-based Nursing

International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

International Journal of Nursing Studies

Journal of Advanced Nursing

Journal of Affective Disorders

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines

Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

Journal of Clinical Nursing

Molecular Psychiatry

Nursing Ethics

Psychological Medicine

Schizophrenia Bulletin

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines

The Lancet Psychiatry

World Psychiatry

Key words search

Evidence-based practice; research; service improvement; quality; risk assessment; harm-reduction; recovery; psychological interventions

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

NUR1000, NUR1100, NUR2000, NUR2100, NUR3600, NUR3200, NUR3000

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date