Mental health nurse

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. 

Why choose mental health nursing

There are many reasons why you should consider a career as a mental health nurse. It offers you the chance to make a difference, a high degree of flexibility and a career with excellent employment prospects. 

"I also love that I have a guaranteed job for life, which I enjoy – a lot of my friends are jealous!" Cherie Lawrence, mental health nurse. 

Read Cherie's story

Working life 

For some people, mental health problems can be triggered by an event such as divorce, the death of someone close, birth, alcohol and drug abuse or changes in personal circumstances, including at work. 

Your role is to build effective relationships with people who use your services, and also with their relatives and carers. You might help one person to take their medication correctly while advising another about relevant therapies or social activities. 

Success comes from being able to establish trusting relationships quickly, to help individuals understand their situation and get the best possible outcome. You will be trained about the legal context of your work and also be able to identify whether and when someone may be at risk of harming themselves or someone else.

Helping people back to mental health is every bit as valuable and satisfying as caring for those with a physical illness.

Where will you work?

Mental health nurses are usually based in hospitals or in the community, as this is where the majority of mental healthcare is offered. If you work in a residential setting, you may do shifts and provide 24-hour care.

Within a hospital you might work in a:  

In the community you could work at a: 

You would work as part of a team which includes general practitioners, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, arts therapists and healthcare assistants.

'The biggest shame of all would be to overlook such a fantastic career opportunity, with all its life-changing experiences'. Christopher Dzikiti, modern matron

Read Chris's story 

How to become a mental health nurse

To become a mental health nurse you’ll need to train and study at degree level - either through a full-time university course or a nursing degree apprenticeship. Entry requirements vary depending on where you’d like to study. You can find a full-time mental health nursing course to suit you using our Course Finder tool.

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