The future of psychiatric-mental health nursing depends on the preparation of nurses who will meet the mental health care needs of society. The current article discusses the development of the "Mental Health Ward," a simulated mental health experience that was offered for the first time to undergraduate baccalaureate nursing students at a Midwestern university in the United States. The Mental Health Ward is an innovative simulated hospital environment that includes the use of standardized patients and role play scenarios, resulting in a full mission simulation whereby students learn various psychiatric diagnoses and practice various pertinent skills, including nursing assessments, admission and discharge processes, medication administration, and therapeutic communication. Lessons learned by faculty and students in formulating the Mental Health Ward are presented.
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