Nurses as AMHPs: From 'Unclean' to 'Honorary Social Worker'

Vicary, Sarah (2023). Nurses as AMHPs: From 'Unclean' to 'Honorary Social Worker'. In: Hemmington, Jill and Vicary, Sarah eds. Making Decisions in Compulsory Mental Health Work: Boundaries, Frames and Perspectives. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 131–145.



This chapter seeks to address professional identity boundaries considering the opening up of the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) role to mental health nurses. It critically examines whether any of the doubts expressed about doing so have been realised. Drawing on data from a wider study of AMHPs, the author discusses the relationship between role fulfilment and professional identity from the perspective of mental health nurse AMHPs. Data were collected through audio-recorded semi-structured interviews with five nurse AMHPs and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Fulfilling the role of an AMHP is interpreted in four stages: during the first two, a transition from “unclean” to “honorary social workers” is shown; in this perception of mental health nurses as AMHPs, it is claimed that the ascription of the professional role as honorary, or special, denotes a change in professional identity and also acceptance into it. In an extension of the metaphor, stages three and four indicate that, once clean, mental health nurses go on to use this shift in professional identity to challenge hitherto accepted professional boundaries and also begin to challenge how the AMHP role itself is fulfilled.

Viewing alternatives

No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions