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Mental health nurses


Would you like to know more about what it’s like to work as a mental health nurse? Watch this video with Kim Goddard, a mental health nurse and tutor at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, to discover what it’s like to work in this area.

What do mental health nurses do?

Mental health nurses provide care and treatment to people with mental health conditions. This usually means working in the community, although they may also work in hospitals, schools, prisons and even the workplace.

The role of a mental health nurse involves talking to patients with mental health conditions, listening to their concerns and needs and helping to find creative solutions to support them to live their lives with difficult and often quite debilitating mental health conditions.

What’s really interesting is that there’s still a lot we don’t know about how to help people recover from mental health conditions. It’s always challenging.'

Kim Goddard, Mental Health Nurse


If you are interested in becoming a mental health nurse, it helps if you have studied some biology and/or psychology at A-level, although this is not always essential. You will later need to study a degree in Mental Health Nursing, which could be a three-year undergraduate nursing course (BSc) .

Once you have passed your degree course, you will need to get registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

It terms of skills, it’s important for you to be emphatic and curious, with a real interest in finding out about people. You also need to be resilient and adaptable, as well as creative and able to think differently in order to solve problems.

Career opportunities

As a mental health nurse, there are opportunities to work in a wide range of different settings and areas, including:

  • liaison psychiatry
  • prisons
  • community nursing
  • school nursing.

 There are also opportunities to work in research and teaching positions, such as on university Mental Health courses, as well as in management roles.

Top tip

If you’re interested in working as a mental health nurse, it’s good to get a bit of life experience and get to know people who are vulnerable or living in different conditions. This could be through travelling, volunteering or working as a healthcare assistant.

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