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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)

£25,654 Starter

to

£45,838 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 38 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

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How to become

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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 & Midwifery Council.

Some degree courses let you study another area of nursing alongside mental health nursing.

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

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

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

Full-time courses usually take 3 years.

You may be able to get additional student financial support through the NHS Learning Support Fund.

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

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

You must be supported by your employer to take this route.

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 paid or voluntary experience in healthcare, or with a charity that offers mental health services, before you apply for nurse training.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

You can also find volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

Other Routes

You may be able to qualify through an 18-month mental health nursing conversion course if you're already a registered nurse in a different branch of nursing. You'll need to speak to your employer if you want to do this.

More Information

Registration

Career tips

It's possible 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. Course providers can advise you on this.

When applying for degree courses or apprenticeships, you'll be expected to show an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.

Further information

You'll find more advice about working and training in nursing from the Royal College of Nursing and Health Careers.

What it takes

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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

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What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As part of your daily duties, you may:

  • build effective relationships with patients and their families
  • assess and support patients
  • identify when people are at risk and respond to those in distress
  • encourage patients to take part in role play, art, drama and discussion as therapies
  • provide physical care, if the patient is too old or ill to look after themselves
  • give medication and monitor its effect
  • create 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 a particular area of mental health, like working with children and adolescents or women. You could become a sister or ward manager and be responsible for running a ward or team of nurses in the community. You could go on to become matron or director of nursing.

With further study and experience, you could become an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or nurse consultant. Consultants work directly and independently with patients, carry out research and development, and give training.

You could also train in health visiting, become self-employed or work overseas.

Current opportunities

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Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Registered BSC Hons Nurse Degree Apprenticeship with NHS HHFT

  • Wage: £146.25 Weekly
  • Location: Winchester

Courses In England

Access to HE - Nursing

  • Provider: WARWICKSHIRE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 20 September 2021
  • Location: Leamington Spa

Access to HE Diploma (Nursing)

  • Provider: NCG
  • Start date: 06 September 2021
  • Location: London

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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