The Decider Life Skills with mental health student nurses

Eimar O'Sullivan and Eimear Gogan identified that student mental health nurses were dealing with more stress than other students and aimed to explore the effectiveness of CBT oriented skills training (The Decider Life Skills) 

Study with mental health student nurses, increasing resilience by using The Decider Life Skills 

By Eimear O’Sullivan RPN MSc,Eimear Gogan RPN


University nursing students face higher levels of stress than those in other undergraduate programmes with 67% of student nurses report significant levels of distress during their training.

Studies have shown students with higher levels of resilience have improved sense of well-being thus enhancing their academic performance.

This trial study worked with a group of student mental health nurses practising The Decider Life Skills to increase their resilience. 

Aims of the pilot study

  • To explore the effectiveness of a CBT orientated skills training (The Decider Life Skills) [6] with mental health student nurse’s experience of practice placement

  • To promote resilience & thus improving sense of well-being for mental health nursing students & enable them to become more reflective, resourceful & responsible during their clinical practice placement


  • A descriptive qualitative design was utilised to explore the usefulness of The Decider Life Skills on a cohort of final year mental health nursing students

  • A CBT orientated skill training ‘The Decider Life Skills’ was delivered as part of their induction programme to their internship

  • The Decider Life Skills: proactive mental health for all is a one day CBT based skills programme delivered by two RPN’s. It is evidence based & effective, memorable & fun which includes role play and visual aids

  • The Decider Skills were originally developed in 2010 as a CBT & DBT skills programme for individuals & groups with mental health problems

  • Two semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with a systematic text condensation completed on the transcript


Download the full study here  Or click on "View Poster" link to the right to see the poster presentation from Nursing and Midwifery Practice Development Unit Conference, September 2018.



"I used it (the STOPP skill) recently. I got some negative feedback that I thought was undeserved. I'd usually be outspoken & I just said STOPP, take the criticism & work from there”. Student mental health nurse

Poster Presentation

View Poster

CBT & DBT Evidence

A summary of the evidence basis for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), the psychological theory and practice that serve as the foundation for the Decider Skills.


Susan Hynes

North of Scotland CAMHS

Feedback from a 2 day workshop attended by CAMHS professionals & from young service users. The Decider has since "become embedded in the Inpatient Unit and proved to be very popular with the young people with a good regular weekly attendance. This is a fairly new group but has been measured using the DERS 18 questionnaire which measures aspects of emotional regulation. The results of the group are promising"


The Decider Skills - The Evidence

The Decider Skills - evidence for each of the skills


The Decider Life Skills - The Evidence

Read the evidence underpinning each of The Decider Life Skills


Dr Bruce Perry, Beacon House

The Three Rs

Dr Bruce Perry, a pioneering neuroscientist in the field of trauma, has shown us that to help a vulnerable child to learn, think and reflect, we need to intervene in a simple sequence.


The Decider Life Skills in a primary school

The Decider Life Skills as a whole school approach at Amherst Primary School, Guernsey


Evaluation of Upturn Young Person’s Service

University of Southampton's report into Upturn Young Person's Service 2017 using The Decider Life Skills


Chris Phillps & Jenny Burgess, NHS Grampian 2018

NHS Grampian: The Decider Skills Pilot Group

Results from The Decider Skills pilot group held in Aberdeen


The Decider Life Skills in Guernsey

A poster presentation providing a summary of studies 2017


Ann Cunningham & Marion Pink 2019

Wicklow, Ireland

Summary and outcomes for The Decider Skills course in Wicklow, Ireland from January to March 2019.


The Decider Life Skills in a secondary school

Ladies College in Guernsey implemented The Decider Life Schools as a pilot project over the 2015-2016 academic year.


The Decider Skills pilot study 2013

Results of the initial pilot study with 20 long term mental health service users which formed the foundation of The Decider Skills programme in 2012-2013.


Dr James Murray

CAMHS data for The Decider Skills

Outcome data for young people who completed The Decider Skills group in 2016


NHS Highland and Robert Gordon University 2018

Delivering The Decider Life Skills via Highland Pharmacists

A multi-perspective evaluation of specialist mental health clinical pharmacist prescribers practising within general practices in NHS Highland


Portlaoise Poster

The Decider Skills group show evidence of a reduction in global distress, anxiety and depression


Ayres & Vivyan

Guernsey's Mental Health Services - The Decider Life Skills Workshops

During 2016, 55 service users and 23 staff attended The Decider Life Skills half day workshop. Brief report and feedback.


The Hub

The Hub in a Guernsey secondary school

The Hub teaches The Decider Life Skills to a target group of students


STOPP skill - the evidence base


Lockdown in a specialised rehabilitation unit