Standards of Practice

Standards of Practice in Mental Health Nursing

Standards of Practice provide practical benchmarks to guide and measure how care is provided. They are concerned with the performance of mental health nurses across a range of clinical environments and include professional knowledge, skills and attitudes (attributes).

The ACMHN Standards of Practice for Australian Mental Health Nurses 2010 specify the minimum level of performance required for a registered nurse practising in any mental health setting.

The 9 Standards are as follows:

(please see information at bottom of page to access the full document ‘Standards of Practice in Mental Health Nursing (2010) which includes the rationale, practice outcomes and attributes (knowledge, skills and attitudes) associated with the Standards)


Standard 1

The mental health nurse acknowledges diversity in culture, values and belief systems and ensures his/her practice is non-discriminatory, and promotes dignity and self-determination.

Standard 2

The mental health nurse establishes collaborative partnerships that facilitate and support people with mental health issues to participate in all aspects of their care.

Standard 3

The mental health nurse develops a therapeutic relationship that is respectful of the individual’s choices, experiences and circumstances. This involves building on strengths, holding hope and enhancing resilience to promote recovery.

Standard 4

The mental health nurse collaboratively plans and provides ethically based care consistent with the mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, social and cultural needs of the individual.

Standard 5

The mental health nurse values the contributions of other agencies and stakeholders in the collaborative provision of holistic, evidence based care and in ensuring comprehensive service provision for people with mental health issues.

Standard 6

The mental health nurse actively pursues opportunities to reduce stigma and promotes social inclusion and community participation for all people with mental health issues.

Standard 7

The mental health nurse demonstrates evidence-based practice and actively promotes practice innovation through lifelong education, research, professional development, clinical supervision and reflective practice.

Standard 8

The mental health nurse’s practice incorporates and reflects common law requirements, relevant statutes and the nursing profession’s code of conduct and ethics. The mental health nurse integrates international, national, local and state policies and guidelines with professional Standards and competencies.

Standard 9

The mental health nurse holds specialist qualifications and demonstrates advanced specialist knowledge, skills and practice, integrating all the Standards competently and modelling leadership in the practice setting.



NOTE: ACMHN members are able to download the full document 'Standards of Practice in Mental Health Nursing (2010)’  from the 'Members Area' as a members benefit.

Go to 'Members Area' and then 'Member Login' in the top horizontal navigation. Login and you will see a link to "Download Standards of Practice" in the left hand navigation menu of the same page.

If you are not a member and would like to purchase a copy, please contact ACMHN National Office on (02) 6285 1078. If you are not a member, you may wish to join to access this and many other benefits. For information about joining – including prices, other benefits and payment options – please go to the ACMHN Home menu, click on "About Us" and then click on the "Join Now" link.