About the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing (CPN)

The Centre for Psychiatric Nursing (CPN) is a Victorian Government supported academic centre that is research-active and strongly engaged in the sector. Its mission is to advance and support mental health nursing practice through research, education and sector consultation.

Some of our current work includes the Evaluation of Safewards Victoria, the evaluation of the Victorian Mental Health Inter-professional Leadership Network (VMHILN), Psychotherapy Essentials in Mental Health Nursing (PEMHN), mental health nursing workshops and hosting conferences.

Safewards is a clinical model and intervention developed in the UK which seeks to reduce conflict and the use of seclusion and other restrictive interventions in acute inpatient psychiatric wards.

The implementation of Safewards in Victoria is the most substantial and systematic in the world to date. Since 2014, CPN researchers have led a Victorian government funded evaluation of the model.

The CPN is currently undertaking an evaluation of the Victorian Mental Health Interprofessional Leadership Network (VMHILN). The VMHILN is a community of practice that unites existing and emerging leaders from Victorian Area Mental Health Services (AMHS) and identified partners, and aims to promote best practice across Victoria by sharing ideas, information and resources.

Psychotherapy Essentials in Mental Health Nursing (PEMHN) is a 10-day training program developed by CPN which is designed to equip community mental health nurses with psychotherapy skills that are specific to nursing practice, and oriented towards supporting consumers in their self-defined recovery journeys. It is designed to help community mental health nurses focus their practice on creating the space for consumers to make meaning from their experiences in ways that make the best sense to them. The program is supported by the Victorian DHHS and the Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse, and is currently in the first phase of its rollout to Victorian Area Mental Health Services.

Part of the CPN’s ‘core business’ is delivering on-site educational workshops to Victorian Area Mental Health Services that reflect current research evidence, and address the everyday priorities of mental health nurses. These workshops are designed to upskill the mental health nursing workforce in line with current practice challenges, legislation and policy directions. The CPN’s training team comprises educators from both mental health nursing and those with a background in the lived-experience of mental health issues. Workshops are delivered by at least two trainers so that both perspectives are brought to the training room. The CPN’s current workshop offerings can be accessed here.

In 2018 the Centre will host the Service User Academia Conference, an event which aims to advance the meaningful involvement of service users in mental health and addiction research and teaching, and to support the discipline of service user academia (also known as consumer academia). “Mental health nurses benefit greatly from the insights and passion of consumer academics, and we are delighted to host a critical mass here in our city in November this year”, says CPN Director Assoc. Professor Bridget Hamilton.

This is in addition to co-hosting the Victorian Collaborative Mental Health Nursing Conference, which the CPN has sponsored since its inception in 1999. The annual ‘Collab’ celebrates and showcases the specialist practice of mental health nursing, and the ways in which this practice contributes to better health outcomes for consumers of mental health services.