For details about nursing at the University of Nottingham, download our subject guide.
This course is aimed at those who already have a degree and some prior healthcare or related experience, and are committed to providing excellence in care to people who experience mental health problems. Students are expected to demonstrate the Chief Nursing Officer’s six Cs of nursing – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment – as they learn how to deliver outstanding healthcare in a supportive environment.
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.
Alongside the huge range of University support services, care has been taken to develop a course that supports you to become a confident and independent learner. We welcome students who have recently completed an undergraduate degree, or simply want a change of career, and academic support from personal tutors and peers can help students back into education.
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. All our teaching staff are experts in the field, having published key nursing textbooks and the majority are registered nurses working in academia.
New nursing curriculum for January 2020
The new educational standards for UK nurse education (2018) have given us the framework for an exciting new course, which builds on the strengths of our existing graduate entry course, and introduces some new and innovative learning initiatives.
The educational philosophy underpinning the programme acknowledges and respects the student as an adult learner with individual learning needs and aspirations. Student learning is supported by the partnership between teacher, student, clinician, service user and carers. Independence and selfdirection in the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes is encouraged and facilitated.
The course seeks to prepare accountable practitioners who contribute safely and effectively to contemporary health care and whose practice is informed by an extensive knowledge base of relevant theory and research. The course aims to foster awareness of multi-professionalism and multi-agency working in healthcare delivery through interprofessional learning.A strong emphasis is placed on holism, cultural sensitivity and social inclusion in nursing practice.
The motivated, aspirational nature of our high calibre graduate students and the dynamic content of our programme together provide a rich environment for the growth and development of first-class nursing practitioners. We expect our course graduates to transition confidently into employment, and become leaders in nursing, who will instigate change and demonstrate creativity and innovation in their nursing practice.
This two year accelerated nursing degree has helped to define me as a conscientious healthcare professional. The support of a dedicated team was instrumental in my attaining this fulfilling and worthwhile qualification, while its hands-on and immersive components facilitated a smooth transition into nursing.
- George Bond, Graduate Entry Nursing
Course duration and structure
This programme is a three year course that's completed in two years, through the accreditation of your undergraduate degree and relevant practical experience*.
In line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) regulations, all courses leading to registration (no matter their academic level) must be of three years duration. However, for students who already have a suitable degree and relevant experience, we can shorten the duration of the course to two years.
*Examples of relevant experience can be found under the 'How to apply' tab.
This course is not suitable for qualified nurses. If you are a qualified nurse you may wish to consider our professional courses
This 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 adult and child field nursing students, participating in simulated scenarios with young people who experience emotional distress.
Students can also take advantage of the free HELM Open database, offering over 200 quality, peer-reviewed online learning and teaching resources.
Uniforms for clinical learning
Students are required to wear a uniform for clinical learning, comprising of a polo shirt with navy or black trousers and appropriate shoes. Branded polo shirts are available to purchase from the online shop.
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 host social activities, organise sporting events and provide welfare support.
How to apply
Applications for GEN are made directly to the University through the postgraduate online application system.
Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed and selection made based on academic qualifications and personal attributes suitable for nursing. Adjustments to the interview process can be made for international applicants. At interview, candidates will need to present a short account of how their prior learning and experience relates to nursing practice.
Relevant healthcare experience
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requirements for undertaking this course are met by Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Experience of healthcare or other relevant employment, and demonstration of the skills, knowledge and attitudes expected of graduates must be evidenced before a place may be offered.Achievement of these requirements will be assessed via interview questions, an interview presentation, and the completion of a biological sciences workbook.
Find out more about the selection process.
Our MSc-GEN mental health nursing students are typically allocated to community, private, voluntary and independent, and acute placement settings.
Practice-based learning is a key part of the course and you will experience a range of placements, working with healthcare professionals in a variety of areas, spending 50% of your time in a clinical practice setting.
Practice experience mainly takes place across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, in a range of in-patient and community settings. These could include:
- acute care and crisis support
- mental healthcare of the older person
- forensic services, including secure hospitals
- child and adolescent mental health services
- substance misuse and addiction services
- liaison psychiatry
- mother and baby mental health services
The course has a 50/50 split in terms of time spent in study and practice placement. Your placement allows you to go to different areas to see another aspect of the patient journey. For example, you may be based on a hospital ward, but you will also experience a GP's surgery and the care outpatients 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 cross field study groups.
The structure is as below:
- ten weeks theory
- five weeks hub placement
- five weeks theory
- four weeks theory
- four weeks spoke placement
- final four weeks placement (this is assessed)
- three weeks theory
Throughout the programme, you will receive clinical supervision preparing you for registered nursing practice. This supervision is integrated into the course structure from the first to last clinical placement.
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 assessed alongside other components of the course.
Typical clinical 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 able to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council 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.
International and elective opportunities
During the second year of your course, you will have the opportunity to undertake a two-week elective placement.Students arrange their own elective placement, which can be in a local or national healthcare setting. Alternatively, students can arrange a placement overseas, provided the country is deemed safe to travel to and you are able to self-fund the trip.
Pre-registration students have previously undertaken placements in Australia, Barbados, Cape Verde, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, Seychelles, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and the USA.
Elective placements could include working in areas as diverse as:
- Internships at RCN
- The Department of Health
As well as providing valuable experience, the elective placement also gives students the opportunity to experience a different field to the pathway they are studying. This helps students to develop their skills in caring for people with different health needs.
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, Graduate Entry Nursing