The Mental State Examination

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The Ausmed Education Learning Centre is accredited with distinction as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation

Provider Number PO342.

CPD45m of CPD
First Published
Updated26 February 2024
Expires 27 February 2026
Recorded InBrisbane, Australia

Course Overview

The mental state examination (MSE) provides a structured way for healthcare professionals to identify a person’s current mental state and recognise key signs of mental deterioration.

  • Principles of the mental state examination
  • Conducting the mental state examination conversation
  • Risk assessment fundamentals.

Undertaking a basic mental state examination is essential to identify any risks to a person's safety, including a deteriorating mental state and/or posing risks to the safety of others, according to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Mental health deterioration in itself is a key initiative that is recognised under the Australian Commission on Safety Quality and Healthcare.

The mental state examination can be used to determine if immediate action is required or if assistance from a qualified mental health clinician will be necessary during, or following treatment for physical illness. Education is therefore essential in ensuring all healthcare professionals are confident in their knowledge of and approach towards conducting a mental state examination if health outcomes are to be enhanced. The evidence that the MSE collects allows healthcare professionals to design interventions for patient care that are aimed at optimising present functioning and plan for potential changes.


The purpose of this Ausmed Course is to enhance the knowledge of nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals who, in the course of their practice, conduct a mental state examination.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe key domains and terminology associated with a mental state examination.
  2. Identify the risks likely to be identified during a mental state examination.
  3. Apply knowledge and understanding of the mental state examination when conducting an assessment.
Target Audience

This Ausmed Course is relevant to all registered nurses and other healthcare professionals working in a range of healthcare settings, but especially those working in mental health or who care for people with a mental health condition.


No conflict of interest exists for anyone in the position to control content for this activity. Wherever possible, generic or non-proprietary names of medications or products have been used.


educator profile image
Karen-Ann Clarke View profile
Dr Karen-Ann Clarke (PhD) is a registered nurse, specialising in mental health, and a lecturer in nursing at the University of the Sunshine Coast. She has been working in the field of education for over twenty years. Karen is passionate about the impact of emotional distress and mental health on individuals and families.
CPD time45m
First Published
Updated26 February 2024
27 February 2026
Recorded InBrisbane, Australia
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Mental Health
Clinical Assessment
Addiction and Substance Abuse
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