Mental health nurse job description

Specialising in providing care and support to those dealing with mental health issues and psychiatric disorders, mental health nurses play a crucial role in assessing, diagnosing and treating patients who suffer from mental health conditions.

What would a typical day look like for a mental health nurse?

A typical day can often be intense and could begin with a shift handover, then patient assessment and medication administration, followed by group therapy and counselling sessions, crisis intervention and support, and shift handover and reporting.

Mental health nurses need to be adaptable as unexpected situations may arise requiring flexibility in their daily routines.

Where could I work?

As a registered mental health nurse, you have the opportunity to work across all age groups.  You may work in hospitals with different client groups, community teams, community clinics, in forensic or prison services, or in substance misuse services.​

MyCareerCentral can provide advice on working outside of the UK.​

What would my starting salary be?​

Most NHS jobs are covered by the Agenda for Change pay scales and you would start at Band 5. Pay and conditions will vary depending upon your employer and competitive rates are offered throughout the private and voluntary sectors. You should always check with the employer to confirm the pay rate for any post for which you are applying.​

What hours would I be working?​

There are a range of flexible working hours, and these will depend upon the post you hold. Some services operate shift hours across a 24-hour period, and some offer clinic hours. NHS services operate a 37.5 hour working week which may include evenings, weekends, early and night shifts and bank holidays.  ​

What is the career progression like for a mental health nurse?

Mental health nursing leads to a diverse range of employment pathways. Depending on your interests there are opportunities for progression through management, clinical, research, therapy, or educational pathways. One of the beauties of the qualification will be the flexibility in your chosen pathway should you be inspired to try and change direction at any point in your career.

Are there more specialised roles in mental health nursing?

There are many specialisms available once qualified as a mental health nurse: therapy, nurse prescriber, clinical research, education, Approved Mental Health Professional, practice development, management, or clinical nurse specialist to name a few.

To explore this career in more depth visit: NHS Health Careers​

Do I need a degree for mental health nursing?

To become a registered mental health nurse, you will need to complete a BSC in Mental Health Nursing. With an increasing focus on the professionalism of nursing, this is to bring the profession in line with other allied health care professionals.   

Our graduate success

Hear from our alumni on their graduate success, their career achievements to date and future aspirations:

Our students and alumni