How To Become A Mental Health Nurse In The UK

14 June 2023

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A Sense of Purpose, Unlimited Potential and Market-Leading Pay

If you know TTM Healthcare Solutions, you’ll know we’re all about potential. About helping every person we work with find their best life, of purpose and fulfilment. A career in Mental Health Nursing truly delivers on this - giving you the opportunity to make a real, tangible difference in a person’s recovery and well-being, while realising your own career goals. So, what does this kind of nursing involve, how do you qualify as a Mental Health Nurse and what should you expect?

Tell Me About TTM and Nursing?

TTM is a leading talent management specialist working wholly in healthcare. Through this specialism we’ve grown as an agency of choice for healthcare partners and candidates alike, offering nurses Temporary, Contract and Permanent positions across the UK and Ireland. With over 21 years’ experience, we’ve built up excellent, long-term relationships with both the public and private sectors - to bring you the quality career opportunities you’re looking for.

What is a Mental Health Nurse?

Mental Health Nurses are Registered Nurses with specialist training in mental health who provide support to people living with different mental health conditions. They could be recovering from an illness, coming to terms with a condition such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar Affective Disorder or experiencing depression or anxiety because of a stressful event. Some people may need mental health support because of drugs or alcohol dependency, while Mental Health Nurses work with patients who self-harm. You might choose to specialise with a particular group of people - such as children or those with specific conditions such as eating disorders. Mental Health Nurses normally work as part of a larger Multi-Disciplinary Team comprising Doctors, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Psychologists and Occupational Therapists.

As a Mental Health Nurse you can be based in a hospital on a psychiatric ward or specialist unit, or work in secure residential units. You may also choose to work in the community - in community health centres or in private homes.

How do I Become a Mental Health Nurse?

School is the starting point, where you will need to achieve at least 4 GCSEs or equivalent Level 2 qualification, including English, Maths and at least one Science subject with a C grade (grade 4) or above. You will also need A-Levels, preferably in Science and Psychology or Sociology.

You will then go on to complete a university degree course specialising in Mental Health Nursing. Entry requirements vary across universities - so be sure to check when applying. You can find a list of universities offering Mental Health Nursing here Course finder | Health Careers.

Alternatively, some employers offer nursing degree apprenticeships and nursing associate apprenticeships. You can find out more here nurse degree apprenticeships and nursing associate apprenticeships.

What Does Mental Health Nursing Involve?

Work as a Mental Health Nurse is diverse and always interesting. You will administer medicine and, where necessary, provide physical care such as helping with a patient’s hygiene and self-care. You will be there to identify when a patient is at risk, help to lower their distress and encourage them to participate in therapy. You will also need to keep accurate, up-to-date patient records. Most importantly - it is your role to build strong and supporting relationships with patients and their families.

How Much Can I Earn as a Mental Health Nurse?

Once you’ve qualified, you will be on a starting salary of about £25,000 per year, while as an experienced Mental Health Nurse you can earn a full-time salary of up to £45,000 per year.

In the UK, depending on your personal circumstances, you can receive a grant of at least £6,000 a year towards your university Mental Health Nursing studies - and this does not need to be paid back.

What Skills Do I Need to be a Mental Health Nurse?

Empathy will be your greatest skill. You need to be caring and friendly so you can create a supportive environment for each patient - helping them trust and feel safe with you. You need to have a calm manner - able to manage stressful situations, think quickly and solve problems on your feet. You’ll be good at working as part of a team, have a good knowledge of Psychology and Medicine as well as basic IT and record-keeping skills.

How Can I Grow My Career as a Mental Health Nurse?

Mental Health Nurses are in great demand throughout the UK. Work is plentiful and you can enjoy good prospects. The mental health sector is dynamic and fast-changing, so there are always opportunities for promotions and career progression.

As a Mental Health Nurse working on a hospital ward, you can progress to become a Band 6 Senior Staff Nurse. Alternatively, you may choose a specialist career path such as a Mental Health Liaison Nurse specialising in adult or older adult mental health, or work as a specialist nurse in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). You may choose to explore forensic psychology, pursue research nursing or choose to lecture.

Why Should I Work with TTM as a Mental Health Nurse?

As a Mental Health Nurse, we can offer you Temporary, Contract and Permanent roles. No one knows professional healthcare jobs and nursing like we do. Our dedicated Nursing consultants are all experts who truly understand and appreciate your working life and its challenges. You’ll work one-to-one with your own consultant who’ll help you find the position that’s right for you, and they’ll handle all the paperwork and documentation too - so it couldn’t be easier.

Work with us as a Temporary Mental Health Nurse and enjoy the flexibility of working when, where and how it suits you. We are an approved supplier for the NHS Framework which means we can offer you first choice of the best shifts throughout the country. You can count on very competitive rates of pay and will be paid weekly, while you’ll enjoy 24/7 professional support from our out-of-hours team. You’ll also become a member of our special TTM Perks at Work programme which gives you valuable discounts on every-day expenses like fuel and groceries, as well as savings on travel and free online courses.

Working as an agency nurse is also a good way to build up your network of contacts - as steppingstones to a Permanent position. Choose the Permanent route and we’re here to offer you a wealth of positions in all leading public / private hospitals and practices and voluntary organisations.

Take your career in a real and rewarding direction - check out our available Mental Health Nursing jobs and apply today!