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Public health nurses' perinatal mental health training needs: a cross sectional survey

Noonan, Maria; Jomeen, Julie; Doody, Owen; Galvin, Rose


Maria Noonan

Owen Doody

Rose Galvin



Aim: To examine public health nurses’ education, training and professional support needs in perinatal mental health.
Background: Public health nurses have a key role in supporting maternal mental health including screening, support, referral and decreasing stigmatisation.
Design: A cross-sectional survey.
Methods: Data were collected from a convenience sample of Irish public health nurses (n=105) from December 2016 to February 2018. The anonymous postal survey consisted of the Perinatal Mental Health Questionnaire, Mental Illness: Clinician’s Attitudes scale and Perinatal Mental Health Learning Needs questionnaire.
Results: Public health nurses reported good levels of knowledge (77.2%) and confidence (83.8%) in recognising women experiencing stress, anxiety and depression. They indicated less confidence in caring (50.5%) for women. The average score for the Mental Illness: Clinician’s Attitudes scale was 35.9 (SD=5.9), suggesting positive attitudes towards women with significant mental illness.
Conclusion: Public health nurses require educational opportunities to explore expressions of psychological distress across cultures and their own personal attitudes to mental health, systems of clinical supervision and support pathways.

Journal Article Type Article
Print ISSN 0309-2402
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Noonan, M., Jomeen, J., Doody, O., & Galvin, R. (in press). Public health nurses' perinatal mental health training needs: a cross sectional survey. Journal of advanced nursing,
Keywords Public health nurses; Nursing; Perinatal mental health problems; Attitudes; Confidence; Integrated care pathways


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