Barriers to Mental Health Nurses Working in Community Mental Health Clinics to Providing Diabetic Screening, Monitoring, and Education to People Living With Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia (SMI) is a mental illness which is chronic and life-long. It is a thought disorder which detracts from the individual’s ability to think clearly and follow logical thought patterns (Hardy & Gray, 2012). ). Between 15-30% of people living with schizophrenia have type II diabetes mellitus depending on their age (El-Mallakh, 2006; Hardy & Gray, 2012). A challenge with the current medical system in the United States is that the comorbidities of SMI and type II diabetes mellitus are managed primarily in two different specialty clinic arenas: the community mental health clinic and primary care clinics (Bennett & Manley, 1998; Happell, Scott, Platania-Phung, & Nankivell, 2012; Hultsjo & Hjelm, 2012). Mental health nurses working at community mental health clinics are the primary contact point for people with SMI. (MacHaffie, 2002; Miller & Martinez, 2003; Robson & Gray, 2007). Three barriers to mental health nurses taking a more active role in screening, monitoring and educating to the diabetic SMI are (a) the lack of clarity within the role of mental health nurses (b) the lack of diabetic training and screening tools for mental health nurses to use in clinic, and (c) the lack of administrative support for the expansion of the mental health nurse role in educating clients living with the co-morbid diagnoses of type II diabetes mellitus and the SMI in the community mental health clinic setting.