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Mental health nurse

Alternative titles for this job include

Mental health nurses work in hospitals and the community, to support people with mental health issues.

Average salary (a year)

£27,055 Starter

to

£40,588 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 38 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a mental health nurse

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a specialist course run by a professional body

University

You can do a degree in mental health nursing approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. You might be able to study another area of nursing alongside mental health nursing.

You might be able to do a degree in mental health nursing and social work. You'll need to check that the course is recognised by the relevant professional bodies.

You might be able to join the second year of a nursing degree if you already have a degree in:

  • a health-related subject
  • psychology
  • life sciences
  • social work

Full-time courses usually take 3 years.

Armed forces

You can also train as a mental health nurse in the armed forces. You can find more information at:

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 2 or 3 A levels, including a science, or a level 3 diploma or access to higher education in health, science or nursing

More Information

Apprenticeship

You might be able to do a degree apprenticeship in nursing if you work in a healthcare setting like a hospital.

The degree apprenticeship takes around 4 years and is a mix of academic study and on-the-job training.

You'll need the support of your employer to do a degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship

More Information

Volunteering

You'll find it helpful to get some experience before you apply for nurse training.

You could:

Other Routes

If you're already a registered nurse, you might be able to take an 18-month mental health nursing conversion course to become a mental health nurse.

You'll need to speak to your employer if you want to take this route.

More Information

Registration

Career tips

You'll be expected to understand how the NHS values apply in your work when applying for a course or apprenticeship.

Further information

You can find advice about working and training as a nurse from the Royal College of Nursing and Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of psychology
  • active listening skills
  • knowledge of medicine
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could:

  • assess, support and build effective relationships with patients
  • identify when people are at risk and respond to those in distress
  • encourage patients to take part in therapies and social activities
  • provide physical care if a patient needs it
  • give medication, monitor its effect and update patient records

Working environment

You could work at a health centre, at an adult care home, in an NHS or private hospital, at a client's home, at a GP practice or in a prison.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could:

  • specialise in an area of mental health like working with children, teenagers or women
  • become a nursing sister, ward manager or health visitor
  • move into management and become a matron or director of nursing
  • become an advanced nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist or nurse consultant if you have a postgraduate qualification
  • carry out research and training, become self employed or work overseas

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a mental health nurse right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Access to HE - Nursing

  • Provider: HCUC (Harrow College & Uxbridge College)
  • Start date: 04 September 2023
  • Location: Harrow

Access to Higher Education Nursing

  • Provider: EALING, HAMMERSMITH & WEST LONDON COLLEGE
  • Start date: 19 September 2023
  • Location: London

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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