Section One

How to use the RNAO Nurse Educator Mental Health and Addiction Resource

The resource is divided into nine sections. Most sections are structured consistently, with some exceptions, to provide:

  • Corresponding CASN/CFMHN (2015) Entry-to-Practice Mental Health and Addiction Competencies and Indicators;
  • Outcomes to assist faculty with learning goals;
  • Teaching and learning activities to support curricula design;
  • Learner engagement questions to spark dialogue and knowledge advancement;
  • Evaluation suggestions to ensure quality knowledge and skill development;
  • Self-reflection suggestions and tools to ensure development of new knowledge and skills, and to promote higher levels of understanding, decrease stigma and increase confidence; and
  • Resources to provide additional materials to support curricula development.

Faculty are invited to use this document for:

  • Self assessment to determine their mental health and addiction knowledge and skill levels;
  • Curriculum and specific course assessment to determine the type and amount of mental health and addiction content and any gaps;
  • Development of specific curriculum, year, course, and lesson plan objectives;
  • Development of in-class application sessions, in particular using the case studies;
  • Preparation of content and application sessions in courses and specific classes;
  • Development of the clinical practice component of the curriculum including design of specific clinical placements and simulation experiences; and
  • Development of evaluation indicators, tools and strategies.

In using this resource, educators will be able to support nursing students, new graduates and nurses to:

  • Meet the CASN/CFMHN Entry-to- Practice Mental Health and Addiction Competencies (2015);
  • Bring mental health, illness and addiction knowledge and skills to clinical practice;
  • Understand the nurse’s role across care setting in supporting persons’ mental health, illness and addiction needs;
  • Support persons and their families experiencing mental health, illness and addiction issues to receive optimal care in their encounters with the health-care system;
  • Contribute to decreasing stigma and improving the health-care environment milieu with regards to mental health, illness and addiction;
  • Contribute to the creation of a clinical culture of evidence and knowledge-based practice;
  • Contribute to person- and family-centred care that is timely, informed and responsive to their mental health needs; and
  • Improve the overall outcomes of clinical care.

The resource is designed to be user-friendly with topic areas easily accessible for review and use. Tools can be completed online or in a paper version and reproduced for curriculum and day-to- day use.

It is recommended to review this resource by examining the table of contents and bookmarking areas for further review or use at critical points in education and practice activities. On the other hand one may identify key areas right away to review in more depth and get started. Others may wish to use the resource as a reference and/or a validation resource. Regardless of how this document is used, there is much satisfaction to be found in expanding knowledge and skill levels in mental health and addiction and working to enabling others to do the same.

SECTION ONE: Introduction

Section one provides the user with the background information for the creation of this resource for nurse educators in entry-level nursing education programs, as well as nursing educators in clinical environments. The section also facilitates understanding of fundamental concepts to mental health and addiction.

SECTION TWO: Learning and Teaching Resources to Support Integration of Mental Health and Addiction in Curricula

Section two includes pre-planning assessment tools that enable educators to assess and identify areas for improvement and ongoing development of their teaching practice in a mental health context.

SECTION THREE: Nurse Faculty and Nurse Educator Teaching Modalities and Reflective Practice

Section three includes a discussion of common collaborative, student-centred and strengths- based pedagogies. This section also addresses teaching activities for mental health and addiction nursing that promote reflective practice, as well as techniques to facilitate preceptorship and mentorship.

SECTION FOUR: Student Reflective Practice and Self-Care in Mental Health and Addiction Nursing Education

Section four focuses on incorporating self-reflective practice and self-care into mental health and addiction content.

SECTION FIVE: Foundational Concepts and Mental Health Skills in Mental Health and Addiction Learning Advancement

Section five highlights mental health, illness and addiction foundational concepts and skills for incorporation into undergraduate nursing curricula.

SECTION SIX: Legislation, Ethics and Advocacy in Mental Health and Addiction Nursing Practice

Section six provides educators with information about key concepts related to mental health and addiction legislation in Canada. Aspects addressed include the relationship of legislation, human rights and autonomy within an ethical framework.

SECTION SEVEN: Clinical Placements and Simulations in Mental Health and Addiction Nursing Education

Section seven provides educators with evidence-based insights into mental health and addiction practice and simulation learning modalities.


Section eight provides the bibliography as a supplement to those references cited throughout the document.

SECTION NINE: Appendices and Case Studies

Section nine includes appendices, a glossary of terms and case studies. This section provides the educator with tips and tools to integrate best practices related to mental health, illness and addiction into curricula. Case studies represent a spectrum of mental health and addiction scenarios, including individuals of various ages and genders, in a range of clinical settings with an array of mental health, illness and addiction conditions.