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Department of Mental Health Nursing

About the Department

We believe there is no health without mental health. As a team, we’re working relentlessly to change the way people understand the relationship between body and brain. A vital part of this is learning from people living with mental health illnesses.

Whilst mental health is part of all nursing and midwifery, we believe there is a specialist role for the mental health nurse, educator and researcher to provide support for people living with acute and enduring conditions. It’s a challenging career path, but it’s also one of the most rewarding.

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At King’s College London, we aim to develop nurses who combine research expertise, experience and patient values to provide excellent care. Based in central London, we have numerous links to specialist mental health foundation trusts and partner with experts across the city, offering access to the most extensive portfolio of mental health services in the UK. Together, we’re banishing stigma, boosting understanding and breaking down barriers.

Preparing students for their future 

We offer two routes to registration, a range of professional development modules, Masters degrees and research degree programmes. 

Every student has a personal tutor who supports them throughout their learning – both at university and in practice. Alongside placements and lectures, students have opportunities to develop research and clinical practice skills – from international clinical electives to undergraduate research fellowships.

Learning about mental healthcare in a large and diverse city means students see the impact of social, as well as psychological, physical, pharmacological and spiritual health on people’s mental health and recovery.

Dr Tommy Dickinson, Head of Department

Our courses

Growing a team that shape thinking around mental health 

We’re a close-knit team of professors, readers, lecturers, teaching fellows, lecturer/practitioners and clinical teachers. Visiting lecturers also share their expertise with us and our students. We're all either mental health nurses or allied psychological health professionals with a vast range of clinical experience, which underpins our research-informed teaching.

Together, we influence, support and educate to give people the skills they need to help those living with mental illness, their families and communities. 

Many members of the Department have national and international recognition as world leaders in their field of practice and have been selected for fellowship of various learned societies and academies. The teaching philosophy of the department is student-led learning theoretically rooted in humanism. Humanist education aims to enable learners to express their own needs and interests, building their self-efficacy, independence and creative energy. Through this humanistic framework we strive to celebrate diversity, promote inclusivity and display compassion and empathy to create an open classroom, where we can become structuring agents facilitating students’ responsibility for learning. By crafting an atmosphere where students appreciate their potential to learn and are excited about learning, they begin to realise their role, responsibility and capacity to take charge of their own education.

Our students are taught by the people that write their textbooks – The Art & Science of Mental Health Nursing, one of the most comprehensive books in the field, is edited by Emeritus Professor, Ian Norman, and nearly half the chapters are written by the team. Our Head of Department, Dr Tommy Dickinson is currently co-editing the second edition of Mental Health Nursing Skills with many of the chapters written by our team.

Understanding mental healthcare through patient experience  

Our research gives people a voice and helps us listen to the groups that are “hard to hear”. This involves working with people in recovery to champion putting people who are experts by experience at the centre of our research. 

The Mental Health Nursing Research Group in our Division of Care for Long Term Conditions runs a programme of high-quality research with the aim of improving the delivery and experience of mental healthcare and mental health nursing across a range of service settings. Staff work across our Faculty as well as the Health Service and Population Research Department in the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Latest new from our Department

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