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Mental health nursing is a demanding but rewarding career choice. Your role would be promoting and supporting a person’s recovery and enabling them to have more involvement and control over their condition.
Training and qualifications required
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.
Expected working hours and salary range
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.
Desirable skills and values
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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