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

The risk of violence is often associated with mental health nursing and a number of skills are needed to spot the build-up of tension and be able to defuse it including

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

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. In nursing, these values are defined by the 6Cs, part of a framework called Leading Change, Adding Value:

Find out more about Leading Change, Adding Value.

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