Case Study: Comparison of Mental Health Nursing in the UK to the Philippines

Mental Health Nursing in the UK is a lot more comprehensive and better-structured than how it is in the Philippines. The differences in situations and the laws that encompass the actual nursing practice can be overwhelming but with proper guidance and preparation, an internationally educated nurse will be able to cope and practise effectively and efficiently.

To start with, the Mental Health Act in the UK is exceptionally well-written and implemented which in return provides optimum protection of patients’ rights whereas in the Philippines, although there is also such thing as the mental health law, it is not as well-defined and equipped to safeguard the rights of a mentally unwell individuals.

For example: here in the UK, if a patient is deemed without capacity, mental health professionals can act in the patient’s best interest. Meanwhile in the Philippines, if the patient cannot decide or does not have the capacity to make one, their relatives can make the decision for them even without lasting power of attorney or advance directives. Additionally, the funding of health programmes in both countries are notably dissimilar. The UK’s free healthcare system widely sets it apart from the Philippine system. With the former, everyone has access to services wherein the latter, it could cost you an arm and neck to get a simple assessment. To illustrate: In England, one can be put under section 2/3 and received mandated assessment or treatment for their mental health. In contrast, there is no such thing as putting someone on section in the Philippines because the government is not capable of providing any free treatment to those who want it let alone to those who need it but does not ask for it.

Given the obvious variances in the field of mental health nursing, an Internationally educated nurse can easily distinguish these differences which can work to their advantage as this practically allows them to know what are the interventions that they are not permitted to do. Basing on personal experiences in being an RGN practising in an RMN field, the supplemental support from the trust such as series of teaching sessions to bridge the knowledge gap regarding the Mental Health laws in the UK, preceptorship programme, and regular check-in sessions with my matron and manager has enabled me to continue to thrive and excel in working in a mental health setting in this country.

Krishna Espanola, West London NHS Trust

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