Compare roles in health

Not sure where to start with the hundreds of NHS careers? Use our compare roles section to get bite-size information on the entry requirements and training, pay and conditions, prospects and skills needed of up to three roles. If there is something that you think you could do, then get more in-depth information on the role.

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  1. Mental health nurse

    Your role is to promote and support a person’s recovery, helping them live independent and fulfilling lives. 

    Entry requirements for adult nursing degrees and nursing degree apprenticeships are set by the individual universities and employers respectively, but typically you will usually need a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above plus two A-levels or equivalent qualifications at level 3. Some universities may ask for three A-levels or equivalent.
    Mental health nurses in the NHS will usually work standard hours of 37.5 per week and will start at band 5 of Agenda for Change with opportunities to progress. Many mental health nurses will work shifts, especially within in-patient departments. Terms and conditions can vary for employers outside of the NHS, such as the police force or prison service.
    Your personality and communication skills are crucial. You’ll be warm and engaging while showing real empathy with service users and their individual circumstances. This may not only include the mental illness itself but also the social stigma associated with it. You'll also need to demonstrate the values of the NHS Constitution to become a nurse.
    Some nurses decide to do into management or clinical academic research. You could also specialise in working with children, adolescents or women. You may also want consider areas outside of nursing such as a psychological well-being practitioner or high-intensity therapist. As you gain more experience, you might also be able to apply for jobs as a nurse consultant.
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