Politicize or perish! the importance of policy for Australian psychiatric-mental health nurses

Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2006 May;7(2):136-41. doi: 10.1177/1527154406288274.


As the largest professional group within the Australian mental health nursing workforce, psychiatric-mental health nurses are well positioned to influence mental health policy. However, the dominance of nursing by the medical profession has limited the extent to which this potential has been realized, with nurses remaining relatively unheard within the political arena. In recognition of this situation, the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing Research and Practice implemented a position for a policy analyst. Three primary aims were identified for this position: networking and relationship building, building profile, and providing a voice for psychiatric-mental health nursing. This article provides an overview of these three aims and the achievements to date. It is concluded that the policy analyst position has made a significant contribution to increasing the profile of psychiatric-mental health nursing and, therefore, to its capacity to influence policy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Academies and Institutes / organization & administration
  • Australia
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Lobbying*
  • Mental Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Research / organization & administration
  • Organizational Policy
  • Patient Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Policy Making
  • Power, Psychological
  • Psychiatric Nursing / education
  • Psychiatric Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Societies, Nursing / organization & administration