Personal characteristics and skills required (mental health nursing)

This page has information on the personal characteristics and skills needed for mental health nursing. 

Your personality and communication skills are crucial components of being a mental health nurse. You’ll need a good knowledge of mental health problems and how to apply it in practice.You’ll be warm and engaging while showing real empathy with service users and their individual circumstances. This may include the social stigma of mental health problems which can be as equally hard to overcome.

Mental health nurse and service user

Thinking on your feet and staying calm are also useful traits of a mental health nurse. You’ll also use a number of other skills on a daily basis, including

  • problem solving
  • good judgement
  • offering advice
  • observational
  • interpersonal communication
  • psychosocial.

Values and behaviours

You'll also need to have the right values and behaviours to become a nurse. HEIs and employers will test you on your values as part of any application to a degree programme or job.

Find out more about the NHS values.

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