Mental Capacity

Our second project with Burdett Trust for Nursing – Mental Capacity

Mike Lyne
Dr Sally Lee
Professor Lee-Ann Fenge
Emily Rosenorn-Lanng
Stevie Corbin-Clarke
26th May 2021

We are a team of researchers from the National Centre for Cross-Disciplinary Social Work (NCCDSW) at Bournemouth University (BU), and we have been working on a project funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing to develop learning tools that support student and qualified nurses in their understanding and duties under the Human Rights Act (1998) and the Mental Capacity Act (2005). This project builds on our expertise and experience in mental capacity education and research, and our collaboration with various stakeholders, such as service users, nursing students, practising nurses, academics, NHS England, and the Mental Capacity Forum.

The Need for the Project

Mental capacity, consent, and advanced decision-making are important issues for nursing professionals, as they affect the rights and well-being of their patients. However, research suggests that nurses and other health professionals are often unsure of their roles and responsibilities in relation to mental capacity and end of life advanced decision making. They may lack confidence and competence in applying the relevant legislation and guidance, which are underpinned by human rights principles.

Therefore, there is a need to build a confident and skilled nursing workforce that can employ evidence-based and person-centred methods in their practice. A core component of meeting this need is embedding knowledge of the Human Rights Act (1998) and the Mental Capacity Act (2005) into nursing education and practice.

The Aim of the Project

The aim of our project is to develop high quality learning tools that help nurses to understand and apply the Human Rights Act (1998) and the Mental Capacity Act (2005) in their practice. These learning tools include:

  • A comprehensive literature review that summarises the current state of knowledge and practice on human rights and mental capacity in nursing
  • A survey that explores how the Mental Capacity Act (2005) is currently taught within qualifying nursing programmes in the UK
  • A focus group that gathers feedback from stakeholders on the content and format of the learning tools
  • A learning toolkit that consists of interactive modules, case studies, quizzes, videos, podcasts, and other resources that cover various topics related to human rights and mental capacity in nursing
  • A train-the-trainers workshop that equips nursing educators with the skills and knowledge to deliver the learning toolkit to their students or colleagues

The Impact of the Project

We hope that our project will have a positive impact on nursing education and practice, as well as on the rights and well-being of patients. We expect that our project will:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of human rights and mental capacity among nurses
  • Enhance confidence and competence in applying human rights and mental capacity principles in practice
  • Improve communication and collaboration between nurses and other professionals, patients, families, and carers
  • Promote person-centred care that respects the dignity, autonomy, and preferences of patients
  • Reduce the risk of abuse, neglect, or discrimination against patients who lack or may lack mental capacity

How to Stay Updated

We are planning to launch our learning toolkit at a national event in September 2021, and roll it out across the country to all nurses and other frontline health care staff. We will also submit our research outcomes for publication in academic and nursing journals. You can keep up to date with these activities on our website at where we share regular blog posts, or follow us on Twitter @nccdsw.

You can also read more about our previous work with the Burdett Trust for Nursing on safeguarding practice for those at risk of financial abuse from scamming here:

Meet the author(s)

Mike Lyne

Senior Lecturer in mental health social work
Michael Lyne is a senior lecturer in social work and mental health at Bournemouth University. He has a dual qualification and registration in nursing and social work, with 15 years of experience in the NHS and various client groups. He is an expert in mental capacity, adult safeguarding, and advance care planning.
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Dr Sally Lee

Programme Lead for the MA and BA Social Work programmes
Sally completed her Post-Doctoral Research in 2016, exploring social work practice, physical disability and sexual well-being. Sally is Programme Lead for the MA and BA Social Work programmes and teaches across both programmes leading the Professional Practice with Adults units and the First Placement unit with the BA students.
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Professor Lee-Ann Fenge

Director of the Centre for Seldom Heard Voices
Lee-Ann is Professor of Social Care in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences. She is a Registered Social Worker and has always been committed to advancing the professional evidence base of social care practitioners.
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Emily Rosenorn-Lanng

Emily Rosenorn-Lanng is a researcher and project manager at the National Centre for Cross Disciplinary Social Work (NCCDSW) at Bournemouth University. She has over 19 years of experience in conducting and managing various research projects in health and social care, local government, tourism and heritage sectors. She specialises in quantitative research methods, game-based learning, generative AI, cybersecurity, and accessibility. She is also pursuing a part-time PhD in game-based learning in Cyber Security education. She has published several research papers and reports on topics such as mental capacity, cyber fraud, child mortality, leadership development, and more. She has also participated in the InnovateUK cyberasap program, a pre-accelerator for cyber security start-ups.
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Stevie Corbin-Clarke

Research Assistant
Stevie Corbin-Clarke is a research assistant in the Department of Social Work and Social Sciences at Bournemouth University. She graduated with a degree in Primary Education (BA Hons) from the University of Chichester in 2017 and joined BU shortly after. She works across multiple research centres, including the NCCDSW and The Centre for Seldom Heard Voices and Marginalized Communities. She has a passion for qualitative research methods and engaging with vulnerable groups and sensitive issues.
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