Mental health nurses in Norfolk are to swap roles with their counterparts in acute hospitals in a bid to enhance the skills of all involved.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust for the scheme.

The initiative is set to start in June, and will involve nurses gaining experience in new surroundings for anything from a couple of days up to three months.

"Our nurses will be able to learn more about physical health, while partner organisation nurses will be able to learn from us," said Michele Allott, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's deputy director of nursing and governance.

"They will be working in accident and emergency and minor injury units, learning about things like wound care, while acute services staff who come to us will work in mental health crisis and assessment.

"They will learn about our services, and about how to use pathways rather than referring patients directly to crisis teams. This will help them to work more effectively with people who have mental health problems.

"We hope the rotation will benefit staff and patients on both sides. By developing practitioners who are more holistic and rounded in their approach we hope the nurses will become even more confident in their work with patients. And the scheme will prevent us sending people off to accident and emergency unnecessarily if the problem is something we are now able to deal with."

This story was originally posted on our sister site posted 28/05/2012 by