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1 to a Degree in Mental Health Nursing

2 Let s Talk About Mental Health Mental health affects us all. Why? Because the way we think and feel about ourselves and our lives affects our behaviour and our ability to cope in difficult times. Whether we call it wellbeing, emotional welfare or mental health, it s key to living a fulfilling life. Yet, according to the Mental Health Foundation, one in four people will experience some kind of mental-health problem during their lifetime. Mental-health problems range from normal, everyday worries to serious long-term conditions. The majority of people who experience mental-health problems can get over them, or learn to live with them, especially if they get help early on. It is possible to recover from a mental-health problem and live a productive, rewarding life. Typical mental-health problems include depression, anxiety, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and substance misuse. There are many opinions about what causes these mentalhealth problems, but contributory factors may include a difficult upbringing, stressful life events, family history, physical conditions and social problems. With the help and support of nurses and the multi-disciplinary team, people can work towards a journey of recovery. Mentalhealth nurses play an important part in supporting and working with people experiencing mental-health problems through the use of interpersonal skills, talking therapies, medication management and an approach to nursing which focuses on supporting individuals and their families. 2 Open Your Mind Degrees in Mental Health Nursing 3

3 Studying on a Mental Health Nursing Programme A Career in Mental Health Nursing How many people get to work in an area that is challenging, exciting and fulfilling? A career in mental-health nursing offers all these elements, and much more. This field of nursing is for people with excellent communication skills, patience, compassion, and an attitude that is nonjudgemental of behaviour, experiences, and backgrounds. Mental-health nurses can improve the lives of those who are frequently excluded by others in society, and who may be suspicious of support offered to them. You will need advanced skills in therapeutic communication and proper understanding of the uniqueness of individuals and the ways in which people experience mental-health problems. You will need to show empathy and compassion. Mental-healthcare takes place in a variety of environments, working with people from every social level and every age group. Because of this, there are amazing opportunities for career pathways and developments. Mental-health nursing graduates are central to any healthcare team. You could find yourself working with a number of different professions and organisations, including the armed forces, police, GPs, psychiatrists, occupational and arts therapists, healthcare assistants, social workers, schools and support services. As a mental-health nurse you could work in a variety of hospital and community settings to support people with a range of mentalhealth issues, as well as working closely with their families, friends and carers to develop therapeutic and healing relationships. Studying for a degree in mental-health nursing will allow you to develop an understanding of yourself and others while exploring the health and social care needs of patients and those who live with them. Many programmes will teach you to consider and appraise different models and theories of how and why people suffer from mental-health issues, with a specific and in-depth focus on the sociological, medical, psychological and philosophical explanations for the experience and journey of living with mental-health problems. Studying on a mental-health nursing programme will enable you to develop an extensive range of skills, including interpersonal communication, effective assessment and Placements To ensure students are employable and ready to meet the challenges of the modern health and social care environment, you ll enjoy a variety of work placements throughout your programme at your chosen university. Practice experiences in nursing are fundamental for enabling the development of critical-analysis skills, as well as the confidence to practise as a mental-health nurse. These are essential for reflective and effective practitioners who are able to adapt to the rapidly changing world of health and social care provision. During your programme you will gain experience in a range of clinical environments whilst on placement. These may include child and adolescent mental-health services, older people s services, community mentalhealth teams, crisis and home-treatment teams, assertive outreach services, acute ward intervention, and collaborative working with both service-users and their families. There are different types of programmes you could apply for that lead to NMC registration as a mental-health nurse. Most universities offer three-year degree programmes, often with inter-professional components where you share learning with other health and social care students, which helps to prepare you for interprofessional collaboration in your career. Some universities offer pre-registration masters-level programmes, for which a first degree is required. Another possible option is dual-registration programmes (over four years) that lead to mental-health nursing registration with an additional second registration in either adult or children s nursing. settings, substance misuse, eating disorders and forensic settings. As a student you will be exposed to new knowledge and skills in practice through contact with service users, your colleagues and other healthcare practitioners. Teamworking and supervised practice assist in developing a broad spectrum of professional skills, including clinical reasoning and judgement. Many students find that particular experiences or interests they develop whilst completing their programme influence which mentalhealth service area they choose to work in. Each practice experience has specific aims and learning outcomes, and students are subject to assessment to facilitate their learning of the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council for professional registration as a nurse. 4 Open Your Mind Degrees in Mental Health Nursing 5

4 Mental Health Nurse Profile My decision to train as a mental-health nurse came after working as a social-housing officer for a number of years. It is a vocation that allows me to spend time communicating with those facing difficulties as a result of mental illness, and helping to enable them to live stimulating and meaningful lives. Half my time is spent at university studying a broad range of topics, from anatomy and physiology to contemporary nursing theory. The teaching methods are varied and stimulating. In lectures, seminars and workshops you are encouraged to develop your own opinions and to reflect on these, both individually and with your peers. There is even role play to help develop essential communication skills! The other half of our time is spent in clinical placement, helping to link theory to practice. I have spent time working in a rehabilitation unit, with a crisis-intervention team and on an acute psychiatric ward. Throughout all of these placements I have been supported by qualified staff who welcome and mentor me, and encourage my personal and professional development. I feel passionately about the career path I am heading down and confident that the education I am receiving will mean that I qualify as a competent and compassionate practitioner. There are many routes that nursing can lead to, however I am particularly interested in the link between creative therapies and mental health and hope to explore this further as a qualified nurse. The role of a student mental-health nurse is one that challenges and inspires me on a daily basis. Listening to service users stories and working closely with them to play an active role in their care is a great privilege. Entry Requirements All universities have different entry requirements, including A-level and GCSE qualifications. The majority of institutions will ask that candidates have a grade C or above in English and Maths, as well as three relevant A-levels, but please check with the individual university for their specific entry requirements. Most universities will consider equivalent alternative qualifications such as the international baccalaureate, Irish leaving certificate and Scottish highers, or will accept people who have done access courses or foundation degrees that equate to the above. Additional entry requirements may apply to preregistration masters and dual-registration courses. Application Process Applications for all degree programmes are made directly through the UCAS universityadmissions system. Access to graduate-entry masters courses are via UKpass. Once you make your application it will go through to the admissions team at your chosen university/ies. If you are successful in being shortlisted you will be invited for an interview, where you will get the chance to meet academic staff and discuss with them why you want to embark on a degree in mental-health nursing. In addition, offers are conditional upon satisfactory health and fitness for practice, references and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance. Fees and Finance Tuition fees for these programmes are paid by the NHS. Students meeting residency requirements are also eligible to apply for a means-tested bursary. A bursary is an annual payment awarded to assist with day-to-day living costs while you are studying. It also includes the cost of your tuition fees for the course you wish to attend. In addition to the standard bursary, you may also be entitled to apply for further allowances. For more information, or for an estimate of how much financial support you could receive, please go to: 6 Open Your Mind Degrees in Mental Health Nursing 7

5 Further Information Undergraduate Mental Health Nursing Programmes Career information Application Process the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry to higher education. Includes information, course searches and services for prospective students

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