Supporting the development of interpersonal skills in nursing, in an undergraduate mental health curriculum: Reaching the parts other strategies do not reach through action learning

Anna Waugh, Lisa McNay, Belinda Dewar, Marie McCaig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The centrality of therapeutic relationships is considered to be the cornerstone of effective mental health nursing practice. Strategies that support the development of these skills and the emotional aspects of learning need to be developed. Action learning is one such strategy. This article reports on a qualitative research study on the introduction of Action Learning Sets (ALS) into a Pre-registration Mental Health Nursing Programme. This teaching and learning methodology was chosen to support the emotional aspects of learning and mental health nursing skills. Four themes were identified: developing skills of listening and questioning in 'real time', enhanced self-awareness, being with someone in the moment - there is no rehearsal and doing things differently in practice. Students and lecturers found the experience positive and advocate for other Pre-registration Mental Health Nursing Programmes to consider the use of ALS within the curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1232-1237
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • Mental health
  • Student education
  • Action learning
  • Theory practice gap
  • Professional competence
  • Emotional aspects of learning
  • The Francis report

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