Mental health nurses work in hospitals and the community to support people with a range of mental health issues. They aim to build good relationships with clients and their families so that everyone is involved in the therapy process.
A mental health nurse has to be sympathetic and non-judgmental. You will need to be able to gain a patient’s trust. You’ll also need to manage emotional situations.
To work as a mental health nurse, you will need to complete a Nursing and Midwifery Council approved degree in nursing.
As a mental health nurse, you would support people who have conditions such as:
• stress-related illnesses
• personality disorders
• eating disorders
• drug and alcohol addiction.
You could work with a variety of clients, or specialise and work with a particular group, like adolescents or offenders. Your duties could involve:
• assessing and supporting patients
• encouraging patients to take part in role play, art, drama and discussion as therapies
• physical care, if the patient is too old or ill to look after themselves
• giving medication to patients.
You would work closely with support workers, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and health visitors. You may also help clients if they need to deal with social workers, the police, relevant charities, local government and housing officials.
Social welfare departments of State/ Central Government which address social problems and issues at a governmental level
Correctional schools, reformatories for children who have committed crime
Rehabilitation clinics for the handicaps
Organisations working in the fields of woman and child welfare, family planning, etc.
Hospitals, clinics and drug rehabilitation centers
Special schools like the schools for the blind and family welfare centers
To qualify as a mental health nurse you will need to study for a degree in mental health nursing leading to registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
To do a degree, you will normally need:
• at least five GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths and a science
• two or three A levels, including at least one science or health-related subject
• good references.
Once you have started a nurse training programme, you will divide your time between university study and supervised work placements in hospitals and in the community. Most courses are full-time and take three years to complete.
A mental health nursing degree will cover many areas, including:
• foundations and theory of mental health nursing
• developing observation, communication and teamworking skills
• counselling and therapeutic relationships
• medicine management
• care planning and partnership working
• professional standards and code of practice.
Throughout your course, you will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills by working in a variety of settings from a supported housing complex to a ward clinic for dementia.
Your progress through the course would be measured through a combination of coursework, assessment, exams and project work.
n the government sector, remuneration is fixed for various scales and the initial level is approximately in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000 per month plus allowances.Private practitioners can earn a lot of money. On one sitting, they charge Rs 1000 or more per hour for counseling.