Nurses’ competence areas in adolescent mental health promotion work in student healthcare

Henna Salmela, Hanna-Leena Melender, Virpi Maijala


Adolescents’ mental well-being is affected by a variety of different factors and their mental health has been a subject of great concern worldwide. Research has demonstrated the importance of how we arrange young people’s mental health promotion and preventive actions. The aim of this qualitative study was to examine mental health nurses’ competence areas in adolescent mental health promotion work in student healthcare in one city in southern Finland. The data were collected from semi-structured interviews with six mental health nurses. The data were analyzed using the content analysis method applying deductive and inductive approaches. The results of the study revealed 11 subcategories for the multidisciplinary knowledge area, eight subcategories for the skill-related competence area, four subcategories for the attitudinal competence area, and five subcategories for the personal characteristics area. The analysis demonstrates that nurses need extensive competencies in promoting mental health among adolescents in student healthcare. Especially evidence-based practice, client-centeredness, communication, and the social significance of the work were emphasized in the findings. This information can be utilized in service development and continuing education. Further research is needed on how the work of nurses in student healthcare could be more preventive.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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