Nurses' experiences when conducting the mental state examination (MSE): A scoping review

Spasija Volcevska*, Lauretta Luck, Rakime Elmir, Geoffrey Dickens, Gillian Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

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The Mental State Examination (MSE) is an assessment framework used to facilitate the collection of subjective and objective data about a person's current mental state. There is a lack of understanding of nurses' experiences when conducting the MSE. The aim of this scoping review is to identify, examine and summarize the available literature relating to nurses' experiences when conducting the MSE. A scoping review was conducted using Arksey and O'Malley (2005) framework to review, examine and synthesize the available literature on nurses' experiences with the MSE. A PRISMA flow diagram was used to describe the systematic literature search. Six databases (APA PsycInfo, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed, ProQuest, and Scopus) were searched including reference lists of eligible sources. Google Scholar, Trove and Proquest Dissertation and Thesis were searched for grey literature. Twelve articles included in this scoping review considered nurses experiences when conducting the MSE. The principles of thematic analysis were used to synthesize the studies. Three distinct themes were identified from the literature: (i) Nurses' role and the MSE, (ii) Nurses' competence and knowledge when conducting the MSE, and (iii) Nurses' confidence when conducting the MSE. The results of this scoping review identified the MSE as a component of the mental health nursing role and a core competency of mental health telephone triage services. The MSE was used by nurses in the Emergency department (ED), acute in‐patient and community mental health settings, including mental health telephone triage services. Nurses working in EDs and acute in‐patient mental health settings experienced a lack of confidence and competence, including a knowledge deficit in conducting the MSE in comparison to nurses working in community mental health settings. Community mental health nurses identified the importance of conducting an MSE higher than acute in‐patient mental health nurses. This review identified the need for evidence‐based research related to the MSE and its application in nursing practice. Evidence‐based research will inform the development of MSE guidelines and policies, thus, enhance mental health nursing practice related to the MSE, including improving and strengthening consumer‐nurse therapeutic alliance in acute in‐patient mental health settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-240
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number2
Early online date10 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024

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