Oral Presentation The 26th International Nursing Philosophy Conference 2023

Decolonising the Graduate Mental Health Nursing Curriculum (#46)

Rhonda L Wilson 1
  1. University of Newcastle, WOONGARRAH;NSW, NSW, Australia

There is an urgent need for pedagogical reform in graduate mental health nursing education in the Australian context, with a focus on the priority population of First Nations people. The paper proposes the adoption of a suitable yarning framework as a means to address this issue. Mental health nursing pedagogy in Australia traditionally privileges Western educational models, disregarding the rich Indigenous ways of knowing, being, doing, and belonging that have existed for over 65,000 years. By extracting pedagogical methods from Indigenous knowledge systems, such as yarning, we can promote a more inclusive approach to graduate mental health nursing education.


First Nations people in Australia are disproportionately represented as consumers in mental health and justice health services. Existing literature suggests that the lack of cultural safety contributes to poorer health outcomes for this population. Therefore, it is of national importance to enhance the mental health care experiences of First Nations people. By equipping mental health nursing graduates with the knowledge and skills to provide holistic care for First Nations individuals experiencing Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) issues or mental health conditions, we can contribute to improved outcomes. This is particularly urgent considering the high rates of mental illness and suicide among First Nations people.


This presentation will discuss and demonstrate how Indigenous yarning methods can be integrated into the mental health nursing curriculum to strengthen cultural safety. By reframing mental health nursing pedagogy to prioritize Indigenous methods, we can create a more culturally safe learning environment for students. This has the potential to enhance their cultural competency and capital in delivering mental health services, ultimately benefiting First Nations people. Urgent reform is necessary, and decolonization of the mental health nursing curriculum holds promise for improving the mental health and SEWB outcomes for First Nations people in the future.