This information is based on the curriculum for 2017 entry. The Nursing and Midwifery Council is currently revising its standards for nursing education, and so what we teach may change for 2018. Please keep checking this page for the latest details.
Our BSc Mental Health nursing course is aimed at those who are committed to providing excellence in care to people who experience mental health problems.
According to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), nursing is defined as "The use of clinical judgement in the provision of care to enable people to improve, maintain, or recover health, to cope with health problems, and to achieve the best possible quality of life, whatever their disease or disability...". Mental health nurses make a vital contribution to supporting service users’ recovery, working alongside people to help them manage their distress and work towards individualised goals.
On this course students will have the opportunity to learn a range of mental health nursing skills including communication skills, building rapport, and developing a therapeutic relationship. Students will also learn about different psychological approaches and techniques that can help people learn how to manage their mental distress. These skills will be developed through role play, working in groups, understanding the underpinning theories, and on practice placements.
Students are expected to demonstrate the Chief Nursing Officer’s six C’s of nursing, namely: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. Working within these values enables mental health nursing students to deliver recovery orientated care. The BSc Mental Health Nursing course is underpinned by a recovery philosophy. Recovery in mental health "...is about building a meaningful and satisfying life, as defined by the person themselves, whether or not there are ongoing or recurring symptoms or problems" (Shepard, Boardman, Slade 2014).
This course is designed to build the skills and knowledge needed for a modern nursing career, giving you three full years in your chosen specialism. We offer a person-centred approach, offering holistic care for the individual and their family - covering social, psychological and biological perspectives - and you will gain clinical experience in a supportive environment.
Alongside the huge range of University support services, particular care has been given to develop a course that supports you to become a confident and independent learner. As such, the course has been specially developed to provide the wide-ranging, high-level skills you need; not just in terms of the practical work you will do, but also by sharpening your creativity, critical judgement and ability to lead.
The Division of Nursing sits within the School of Health Sciences, which is a research active school and has its own dedicated Mental Health Research Group led by Professor Mike Slade. All our teaching staff are experts in the field, having published key mental health texts, while many are also qualified nurses.
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The majority of study takes place at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, where we have a clinical skills centre and additional drop in facilities where students can practice in a simulated environment.
Students benefit from taking part in simulations which enable them to practice mental health nursing care with simulated patients (actors) in a safe environment. Mental Health students also have the opportunity to work alongside child field students, participating in simulated scenarios of with young people who experience emotional distress.
Students can take advantage of the free HELM Open database, offering over 200 quality, peer-reviewed online learning and teaching resources.
Getting to our Nottingham campus is easy, with a wide range of transport links available, from the tram – with stops at both Queen’s Medical Centre and University Park Campus – to a number of public bus services, or the hopper buses which take students from Nottingham to Royal Derby Hospital.
We are proud to have one of the most active students’ unions at any UK university, with over 300 societies and sports clubs where you can have fun, gain new skills and meet like-minded people. Students can also join the Nursing and Midwifery Association (NMA) society, who aid interprofessional collaboration as well as hosting social activities, organising sporting events and providing welfare support.
I chose Nottingham because of the opportunities it provides to learn at world-renowned healthcare facilities, alongside staff that are specialists in their field. I have also participated in a number of extracurricular activities that underpin and enable me to use the skills and knowledge I have gained throughout my training.
- Jodi Shaw, BSc Nursing
We believe it is important for you to gain experience not only in the local area, but also further afield, and you will have the opportunity to study nursing overseas, or elsewhere in the UK. This means you will:
- See how different trusts operate, giving you a wider perspective of the healthcare sector
- Broaden your practice experience and nursing skills
- Better prepare yourself for a nursing career, understanding the challenges that both service users and healthcare professionals face at various stages
- Make connections for future job opportunities and learn which role is suitable for you
During placements, you will be supported by experienced clinical mentors and participate in student forums.
Placements have been absolutely fantastic and the teaching hospitals have been brilliant.
- NSS student feedback, 2016
During the second year of your course you will undertake a four-week elective placement. Students arrange their own elective placement and have the potential to go anywhere in the world, provided the country is deemed safe to travel to and the student is able to fund their trip.
For more information, see the 'International Opportunities' tab.
Our BSc mental health nursing students are typically allocated to community, private, voluntary and independent, and acute placement settings.
Students will gain experience in each of the following placement categories:
- Acute care and crisis support
- Mental healthcare of the older person
There are also opportunities to experience some of the following;
- Forensic services, including high secure hospital
- Child and adolescent mental health services
- Substance misuse and addiction services
- Liaison psychiatry
- Mother and baby mental health services
Rather than being given a pass/fail, your progress during placements is graded (dependent on the stage of your course), using ‘credits for practice’. Credits go toward your final degree classification, meaning students are assessed based on their practice ability as well as academic achievements.
Hub and spoke model
The course has a 50/50 split in terms of time spent in study and practice placement, and we have introduced an innovative hub-and-spoke model. Your ‘hub’ placement will be your main base and will provide you with experience in a particular area.
In addition to this hub placement, the ‘spoke’ placement allows you to go to a different area to see another aspect of the patient journey. For example, you may be based on an acute ward, but you will also experience a crisis team and the care service users receive in the community once they go home.
This holistic approach will give you a wider perspective and demonstrate some of the challenges that both patients and healthcare professionals face at various stages.
In the first year, you will take part in small study groups specialising in mental health nursing.
The structure is as below:
- Three months of theory until the Christmas break
- One month hub placement
- One month spoke placement
- Two month hub placement
Please note that students have the same mentor for both hub placements.
In years two and three, you will receive clinical supervision preparing you for registered nursing practice.
Clinical skill development is an essential component of any nursing course. This will occur both in University and practice. Some clinical skills, for example hand washing, are accessed alongside other components of the course.
Typical skills that will be covered include:
- Developing the therapeutic relationship
- Recovery planning
- Giving injections
- Cognitive behavioural techniques
- Administering of medication
- Coping strategies for hearing voices
Once you have successfully completed the course you will be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a mental health nurse.
Find out more about how you will learn and be assessed, including an example first-year timetable, on our teaching webpage.
We welcome applications from individuals irrespective of age, race, sexual orientation or background as the diversity this brings to nursing reflects the population you will be caring for as a registered nurse. We are experienced in providing advice relevant to your needs as a mature nursing student through our personal tutor and University support systems.
Find out more about studying at Nottingham as a mature student on the mature students website.
As a mature student I’ve had a lot of support and realised that there’s a lot of people in the same boat as me - that don’t live within the halls of residence at University, and that are around my age - so I’ve had a lot of peer support as well as the academic support.
- Gavin Hibberd-Smith
We will be offering up to a maximum of five places for international students. Please note that our international course fees include uniforms and placements.
It is highly beneficial for UK students to study with international students, as it broadens their outlook of nursing, allowing them to share experiences and differing practice techniques.
The University of Nottingham International College (TUNIC) opened in January 2017 offering international students foundation courses including a science foundation certificate and assistance to meet the entry requirements in English provided by Kaplan International Colleges. As of September 2017 this will include courses specifically tailored for nurse entry.
You will need to satisfy both the Kaplan and University entry requirements to obtain a place on this course. Successful completion of the foundation course, with the necessary progression requirements including maths and English, will be accepted as equivalent qualifications for entry onto one of the nursing courses.
Acceptance onto the nursing course is dependent on face to face interview, Certificate of Good Character, Occupational Health assessment and an IELTS of 7.5.
For more information, see the 'English language requirements' tab under 'Entry requirements'.