Individuals with addiction problems often experience challenges accessing or engaging with general health services. Addiction services may be the only service attended by these individuals and as such mental health nurses (MHN) working in these settings are in a position to assess and manage their physical health needs. This study investigated the views and confidence levels of MHN working in community addiction settings towards undertaking physical health assessment, and management, and found that there were variable attitudes and confidence levels among the participants, dependent on the physical assessment tasks discussed. In contrast to previous studies, medication side effect monitoring was seen by fewer participants as an important part of their role. On the whole participants felt positive about incorporating physical health into their practice, however, they reported requiring more training to develop and maintain competence in their physical assessment and care skills. There remained ambiguity among some of the participants as to whether some physical health assessments should be undertaken by MHNS and more detailed research is required to identify key skills clusters for this clinical area.
- physical health
- addiction nursing