Journal of Professional Nursing

The Workbook Portfolio: Facilitating Undergraduate Student Learning in the Mental Health Clinical Area

Rosemary Thompson RGON, ADN, BN Clinical Co-ordinator Wesley Hospital. Former Nurse Lecturer, School of Nursing, UNITEC Institute of Technology
Tony Farrow RCpN, BN, Dip. Health (Mental Health Nursing). Nurse Lecturer, School of Nursing, UNITEC Institute of Technology


Undergraduate nursing students are confronted with a multitude of challenges during their mental health clinical placements. Many of the required skills are dissimilar to other areas of nursing and students must also develop the cognitive skills that influence the behavioural ones. However, mental health and mental health nursing are influenced and determined by a complex, and sometimes contradictory, range of external influences. Such ambiguity can be confusing for even the most experienced practitioner, let alone an undergraduate student. This article describes the use of a model that has been developed to assist the student in tackling such complex issues. The Workbook Portfolio has identifiable components that encourage the development of reflective and analytical skills. Our article explains the workings of this model in a fashion that allows other educators to utililise it to benefit students in the mental health setting.  

Workbook portfolio, mental health nursing  

Student nurses are often confronted with an array of complex issues in the mental health component of their clinical learning. One confusing aspect is the number and range of theories in vogue, some of which appear contradictory. Also, clinical experience takes place in a demanding environment that is different from what has been experienced previously. This can leave students struggling in the face of the many new skills that have to be learnt. Continued 

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