Expert answers from
Is there a difference between psychiatric nurses and mental health nurses?
Professor Len Bowers: Not really. There was a change of terminology, or a preference, round about in the 1980s. I suppose it was a re-launch in a way, saying that we are more affiliated to the positive things, to people’s mental health, rather than concentrating on their deficits and their illnesses.
And that word, ‘mental health’, became a symbol for a more positive approach in mental health nursing. But for other people it doesn’t necessarily have the same resonance and both words – both ‘psychiatric nurse’ and ‘mental health nurse’ – are in common parlance and they don’t mean anything different really.
And interestingly, the word ‘community mental health nurse’ has never stuck because everybody has got so used to talking about ‘community psychiatric nurses’, or ‘CPNs’, that they just still refer to ‘CPNs’, even though technically sometimes the job title has changed.
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