DOI: 10.1111/inm.13297 ISSN: 1445-8330

A job analysis of mental health nursing in a school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Brent A. Hayward
  • Pshychiatric Mental Health


While schools have become settings for the delivery of mental health supports to students, mental health nursing has not yet described its practice in schools. In the absence of this mental health nursing literature, a quantitative self‐reporting job analysis methodology was used to describe the tasks of mental health nursing in a specialist school as an observant–participator in a single‐case holistic case study. Additional aims were to compare the results with the general school nursing and the disability nursing literatures and interpret these findings for mental health nursing. Categories of tasks from general school nursing were used to deductively interpret the results. Tasks were recorded across all categories of school nursing. The greatest number of tasks were recorded in the professional performance category, followed by planning, then personnel. The least number of tasks were recorded in the health education and promotion category, followed by practice and treatments, assessment and diagnosis, and management. These results differ from tasks in general school nursing but share similarities with intellectual and developmental disability nursing, particularly related to relationships and communication. Practising effectively as a mental health nurse in a specialist school requires capabilities for working with people with disability, particularly communicating and establishing relationships, in addition to clinical mental health skills. Mental health nursing in schools is an area of practice that requires further exploration to capitalise on emerging policy developments to support student mental health.

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