Evaluation of practice nurses' management of paediatric psychosocial problems in general practice

Lukas B.M. Koet*, Heike Gerger, Wilma Jansen, Patrick J.E. Bindels, Evelien I.T de Schepper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Child mental health services are under major pressure worldwide. In the Netherlands, Youth Mental Health Practice Nurses (YMHPNs) have been introduced in general practice to improve access to care. In this study, we evaluated care delivered by YMHPNs.

We used medical records of a population-based cohort (21 717 children, 0–17 years). Characteristics of children consulting a YMHPN, type of problem, care delivered by YMHPNs and referrals were assessed using quantitative content analysis.

Records of 375 children (mean age 12.9 years, 59.2% girl) were analysed. These children were often in their adolescence (57.3% was between 13 and 17 years), and more often female than male (59.2% vs 40.8%). YMHPNs had a median of four consultations (IQR 2–7) with the child. YMHPNs managed a variety of psychosocial problems. YMHPNs managed 22.4% of children without need of referral, 52.0% were eventually referred for additional care. 13.3% of children dropped out during the treatment trajectory. In the remaining 12.3% of children, the treatment trajectory was stopped because the child was already attending specialized services, the treatment trajectory was still ongoing or the medical record was inconclusive.

YMHPNs successfully managed one in four children with psychosocial problems without need for referral. Nevertheless, most children were eventually referred for additional care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e261-e268
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number2
Early online date31 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • General practice
  • Mental disorders
  • Nurse specialists


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