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Emergency Mental Health Nursing

Course Code: PNUR 4574
Faculty: Health Sciences
Department: Nursing - Psychiatric
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Online
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

The Emergency Mental Health Nursing course provides an overview of emergency mental health practice, including the professional scope of practice in combinations with a continuum of mental health emergency nursing interventions from supportive to crisis intervention. Legislation applicable to emergency mental health is examined. The process of triaging referrals, as well as creating safe working environments within both facilities and communities is addressed. Frameworks for mental health nursing assessments, mental status assessments, and risk assessments (suicide, violence, homicide, domestic violence, and elder abuse) are examined. Emergency mental health practice including episodic health variances (such as psychosis, delirium, and mood disturbances), nursing diagnosis, and nursing interventions and dispositions in community (including telephone crisis lines) and hospital settings are explored. Throughout the course there is focus on building skills related to psychiatric interviewing.

Course Content

Unit 1: Scope of Practice in Emergency Mental Nursing Practice

  • Deinstitutionalization
  • Best Practices
  • Best Practices and Delivery of Emergency Mental Health Services
  • Resource Allocation
  • Ethics and Emergency Mental Health
  • Advocacy
  • Inter-disciplinary Practice
  • Leadership and Emergency Mental Health Practice
  • Critical Thinking
  • Psychiatric Interviewing
  • Scope of Practice and Related Stress

Unit 2: Crisis Intervention, Triage and Referrals

  • PNUR Conceptual Model in Emergency Mental Health
  • Defining Mental Health Crisis and Mental Health Emergencies
  • Crisis and  Emergency Intervention
  • Maturational and Situational Stressors
  • Triaging & the Crisis triage rating scale
  • Referrals, Baseline and Collateral information
  • Telephone, and Mobile Outreach Triage
  • Hospital Triage

Unit 3: Application of legislation to emergency mental health nursing practice

  • Mental Health Act: Definitions
  • MHA related to Emergency Mental Health 
  • MHA Emergency Procedures
  • Extended Leave
  • Duty to warn
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Related to Emergency Mental Health 
  • Consent and Emergency Mental Health Practice
  • Adult Guardianship Act Related to Emergency Mental Health

Unit 4: Emergency Mental Health Nursing Assessments, Risk Assessments and Documentation

  • Assessment Tools
  • Homicide and Violence Risk Assessments
  • Documentation

Unit 5: Episodic Health Variances in Emergency Mental Health nursing:

  • Variation in thought and perceptual disturbance
  • Variation in neurosensory and cognition
  • Variation in emotions
  • Variation in coping patterns

Methods of Instruction

Students will acquire knowledge and skill and learn to apply concepts through a variety of means of instruction and activities, including: lecture, audio-visual aids, case studies, debate forums, critical thinking exercises and team work.

Means of Assessment

The course evaluation is consistent with Douglas College evaluation policy.  An evaluation schedule is presented at the beginning of the course.

This is a graded course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course the learner will:

  • gain an understanding of the scope of practice for emergency mental health nursing;
  • develop advanced psychiatric interviewing skills that facilitate assessment and intervention;
  • explore legal and ethical issues related to emergency mental health nursing practice;
  • gain competency in completing mental health assessments, risk assessments and triaging emergency mental health calls;
  • examine a variety of mental health variances, in relation to emergency mental health nursing practice;
  • plan dispositions and follow-up care for individuals experiencing mental health crisis or emergency; and
  • develop skills to offer crisis line or telephone intervention.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.