Other Professional



Currently there are there are three mental health nurses working at our clinic in Sunbury:

Andrea Polonowita (Senior Nurse)

Andrea has been working within the MHNIP since its inception in 1997. She has experience in working with patients who suffer from co-morbid physical illness in addition to the mental health disorder, working most recently at the Austin Hospital and The Women’s hospital over the preceding 6 years. She has a particular interest in working with pregnant or postnatal women and has completed the Non-Directive Pregnancy Counselling Training to provide additional services to women who have require support whilst pregnant or up to 12 months after delivery of their child. She also has completed training in Family Therapy, Mindfulness Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Counselling using the ABC CAT program.

Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP)

Mental Health Nurses are engaged by Psychiatrists and General Practitioners to provide co-ordination of clinical care for people suffering a severe Mental Health Disorder. The Mental Health Nurses work in collaboration with Psychiatrists and GP’s to provide services such as monitoring a patient’s mental state, medication management and improving links to other health professionals and clinical service providers. Specialised therapies can be provided by the Mental Health Nurse and these are based on the individual needs of each patient. Every patient being supported by a MHN will have a current Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) outlining the roles and responsibility of the Psychiatrist, GP and the MHN. The MHCP is a requirement of the Incentive Program and there are eligibility criteria (listed below) that each patient needs to meet prior to acceptance of entry into the program. The services provided by the MHN will either be in the clinic or can be provided in the patients home (assessment criteria apply). The services will be free of charge or there may be a small charge associated for specific therapies, which may include Affective Behavioural Cognitive Computer Assisted Therapy (ABC CAT), Social Rhythm Therapy (SRT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Family or Couple Therapy and Group work. Any associated expense will be outlined to the patient at time of consideration of inclusion. Regular updating of the MHCP will occur as well as regular monitoring of outcomes for the patient. Rating scales are used to gather this information and may include Health of The Nation Outcome Scale (HoNOS), Becks Depression Inventory (BDI), Young’s Mania Rating Scale (YMRS), Self Compassion Rating Scale (SCRS), Automatic Thoughts Questionnaire (ATQ), Five Facet Mindfulness Questionaire (FFMQ) and Life Skills Profile-32 (LSP-32). It is necessary for patients to complete some of these rating scales to monitor outcomes.

Entrance Criteria

  • The patient has a diagnosis of a Mental Health Disorder
  • The disorder causes significant disablement 
  • The patient is at risk of hospitalisation or has had at least one admission in the past
  • The patient is expected to require continuing treatment for the mental health disorder
  • The Psychiatrist is principally responsible for the patients care
  • The patient provides consent to support from the MHN

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