Mental health nurses work across the age range (with both children and adults), and in a variety of settings both in the community and for those requiring inpatient care.
Mental health nurses seek to empower and support people with mental illness (and their carers) to aid their recovery and to help them to manage their mental wellbeing.
Mental health nurses take an holistic approach to the care of support service users to address their psychosocial and physical needs in order to attain a fulfilling quality of life.
When you graduate from our BSc Mental Health Nursing programme at UEA, you will have developed the knowledge, skills and attitudes you need to become a caring and competent specialist practitioner. You will have graduated from one of the best schools of health in the UK, and be ready to embark upon an exciting career. Following your graduation, you will need to register with our professional body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Once registered you will be able to work as a mental health nurse in the UK and overseas.
You may go on to undertake additional training and specialise, for example in one of the psychological therapies.
As a registered mental health nurse you may work in hospitals with different client groups, community teams, community clinics, in forensic or prison services, or in substance misuse services. You will support individuals with many mental health issues and associated difficulties. You need to have an awareness of legal and ethical issues and be able to make judgements about people who may be vulnerable and at risk. You will use a range of knowledge and expertise to support your client group, from talking therapies to pharmacological interventions.
Mental health nurses are resilient and have an accepting and non-judgemental approach to others. Having enhanced communication skills supports day-to-day work with service users and co-ordinating their care with the multidisciplinary team.
Top tip – Learn about factors that protect mental wellbeing, not for those that you care for, but those that you work with and for your own health and wellbeing.
What would my starting salary be?
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change pay scales and as a recently graduated Mental Health Nurse you will 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?
37.5 (this may include nights, weekend and shift work)
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, 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.
Where could I work?
There is currently a national shortage of Mental Health Nurses in the UK, so there are lots of opportunities for jobs and this is likely to grow.
You may work in hospital settings, clinics, or a variety of community based settings, including service users’ homes.
There are a range of opportunities available to mental health nurses, including;
- Community mental health nurse
- Acute liaison nurse
- CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) nurse
- Staff nurse on a general hospital ward
- Substance misuse nurse
- Specialist therapy nurse
- Forensic nurse
- Prison nurse
- Nurse education
- Nursing research
The UK nursing qualification which is generally transferable in every other country is the 'Registered Nurse: Adult'. Not all countries have equivalents to the UK qualifications in mental health, learning disability, children’s nursing, health visiting and the enrolled nurse. If there is no equivalent to your nursing qualification in the country you would like to visit then you will not be able to work there as a qualified nurse.