Why is A National Framework important? 

The development of mental health nursing practice begins at undergraduate level, and requires a clear articulation through AQF Level 8 and 9 (Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Masters) programs.

The Mental Health in Pre-Registration Nursing Courses 2008 (MHNET, 2008) Report established a framework for the mental health component of pre-registration nursing degrees, but did not address postgraduate education for mental health nurses. 

A Scan of Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Programs in Australia 2011 (ACMHN) identified the high level of divergence and inconsistency between courses, particularly in how the education component interacts with clinical competency. As a consequence, nurses who have identified that they want to become a specialist mental health nurse face difficulty in choosing a course that provides appropriate mental health nursing skills and information about what helps a person recover. 

This national framework has been developed to ensure national consistency in the preparation of nurses undertaking postgraduate mental health nursing education, in preparation for the practice of mental health nursing, based upon agreed criteria and supporting values and principles. 

The ACMHNs National Framework for Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Education therefore builds on the MHNET framework, to ensure clear articulation from undergraduate to postgraduate level, as well as a clear educational career path for mental health nurses.