This course prepares you to work in a variety of mental health settings with a diverse range of people. You will gain experience within inter-professional practice and develop skills in mental health nursing across the lifespan.
The BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing course is part of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences Nursing Framework which offers BSc (Hons) Children and Young People’s Nursing and BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing courses. Within the first year some units are common to all courses in the Nursing Framework with shared lectures. Our approach to interprofessional education means that throughout the course students will take part in shared workshops, lectures and learning events with other students on health related courses.
On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators and technicians. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.
- Identifying Knowledge for Nursing Practice: This unit will provide you with essential practice experiences to develop competence to the requirements of the NMC.
- Mental Health, Wellbeing & Humanised Care in Later Life: The unit will cover the potential impact of ageing on the wellbeing of an individual, as well as the personal meaning of dementia for the individual and their carer, including the care and treatment involved and the ethical and legal issues which surround this particular illness.
- Anatomy & Physiology During the Lifespan: In this unit you’ll gain knowledge and understanding of the essential principles of anatomy and physiology as it applies to the individual. A lifespan approach will be taken which will allow for field specific content to be introduced. Links will be made to clinical skills teaching as part of simulation activity.
- Fundamental Communication Skills: Good personal and interpersonal communications are central to collaboration, the efficiency of group working and the resulting quality of care. The aim of this unit is to facilitate the development of effective and transferable communication skills that promote valuing diversity.
- Origins & Expressions of Mental Health & Wellbeing: This unit will introduce you to a number of key issues in the mental health field, including possible explanations for changes in a person’s mental health, the development and organisation of services for people with mental health problems, and the role of the mental health nurse in working collaboratively with service users, carers, and fellow professionals.
- Personal & Professional Development: This unit focuses on the development of transferable academic and graduate skills that enable you to not only cope in response to the many academic and professional demands you’ll face in the first year, but to also achieve your full learning potential across a range of academic units and professional experiences throughout your entire undergraduate studies.
The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during the first year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.
- Learning and teaching: 198 hours
- Independent learning: 402 hours
- Non-assessed learning and teaching: 95
- Placement hours: 600
- Developing Knowledge for Practice: This unit will provide you with essential practice experiences to develop competence to the requirements of the NMC by the second year progression point.
- Communication & Therapeutic Approaches in Mental Health: You will explore a range of communication strategies and therapeutic approaches within mental health care. It will cover the effect of personal values, attitudes, individual difference and diversity on communication with others while analysing a range of therapeutic approaches within mental health.
- Physical Care in Mental Health Settings: Here you’ll develop an understanding of the physical health needs of clients in mental health settings. You’ll discuss ways in which the physical health of clients might be assessed and monitored, identify the key presenting features of a range of common physical illnesses and demonstrate an understanding of physical care skills required in mental health services.
- The Value Base of Mental Health Nursing: This unit reflects on the contemporary nature of mental health care and the values underpinning nursing practice in this area. You’ll consider the issues that may be essential to service users’ lives, particularly with regard to mental health and wellbeing and demonstrate an understanding of the ethical theories, legal principles and values that are relevant for professional practice in mental health.
- Acute Mental Health: From Crisis to Wellbeing: You will explore the interaction between vulnerability, life events, chronic difficulties and coping skills in acute mental health care. You’ll learn to identify signs and symptoms of acute mental illness and analyse the application of health promotional activities such as relapse prevention, psycho education and medication management in reducing the negative effects of mental illness.
- Exploring Evidence to Guide Professional Practice: This unit aims to raise your awareness of a range of evidence, and you’ll be able to demonstrate an understanding of how different forms of evidence guide practice.You’ll reflect upon how professional and disciplinary practices can be enhanced to emphasise human sensitivity and individual worth. You’ll be able to consider the nature of evidence based practice and the range of research approaches and methods that contribute to evidence.
The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during the second year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.
- Learning and teaching: 240 hours
- Independent learning: 360 hours
- Non-assessed learning and teaching: 27
- Placement hours: 600
- Evaluating Knowledge for Practice: This professional practice unit provides a range of practical opportunities which you require to demonstrate your competence to achieve the identified NMC (2010) skills, knowledge, attitudes, values and technical abilities for entry to the NMC register.
- Service Improvement Project: The purpose of this unit is to enable you to develop skills of working in small teams to enhance the experiences of people who use services and their carers. You’ll analyse the need for changes to improve services offered to people and communities, synthesise solutions to complex challenges that address the need for improvement, take part in teams in undertaking an improvement project and reflect on the skills, values, attributes and knowledge required to undertake a service improvement project.
- Mental Health Nursing in Specific Settings: This unit explores a range of mental health services and identifies nursing roles within them. You’ll identify the socio-political context of service development, examine the therapeutic approaches and evaluate the nature of assessment and intervention within mental health care provision.
- Reviewing the Literature to Inform Practice: Here you’ll evaluate a specific area of interest relating to your field of nursing and build upon your understanding of research appraisal, literature reviewing and academic writing skills.
- Communication, Leadership & Management in Mental Health: This unit develops your understanding of how mental health services are organised, and explores appropriate leadership and management skills. You’ll appraise commissioning approaches, analyse the legal and ethical dimension of registered practice, review approaches to clinical supervision, assess theories of change and change management and evaluate approaches to risk management in mental health settings.
- Supporting the Recovery Journey: Here you’ll develop practical skills as well as an understanding of the underlying principles of care for people with serious mental illness. It will integrate practice, theory and service user experience in the drive to enhance recovery.
The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during the final year of this course. You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions. Your independent learning could include reading books and journal articles, working on group projects, preparing presentations, conducting library research and writing your assignments.
- Learning and teaching: 119 hours
- Independent learning: 481 hours
- Non-assessed learning and teaching: 32
- Placement hours: 600
Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.
Download the programme specification for BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.
As a Nursing student, you will spend 50% of your time on the course in a practice placement setting, and the remaining 50% studying - whether at home, at the library or on campus attending lectures, seminars or working under the guidance of our demonstrators in the Practice Skills suite.
The practice simulation suites are a great way for you to try your hand at practical skills before you go on placement, as they provide a safe environment and allow you to continually work on skills necessary in the workplace. Watch the video for more details.
All of the practice placements on the mental health nursing course are undertaken in mental health settings which are as diverse as our client group. This will give you a rounded experience of nursing and to fulfil the registration requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
In the first year you should experience some of this diversity through both hospital and community placements. In the second year there is the opportunity to undertake an overseas placement where you will be able to experience mental health care in a differing culture, and in the third year there is the opportunity to work within specialist areas such as eating disorders, child and adolescent, addictions and forensic mental health.
Overall, you'll undertake placements in a broad range of settings, including within a Community Mental Health Team, an Older Persons Unit, Acute services, Recovery with the option of placements with specialist teams who work in areas such as drug and alcohol treatment, forensic services and eating disorders.
What hours do you work?
When on placement you are required to work 150 hours every four weeks and experience the full 24 hour shift pattern to include 12-13 hour shifts, weekends and night shifts. You will follow the shift pattern of your allocated placement mentor, which means you cannot chose which days you work. You'll be expected to spend a minimum of 40% of your time on placement with your mentor, as required by the NMC.
Although your term time address and method of transport are taken into consideration when allocating your placements there is an expectation that all students will have to travel across large areas including some of a more rural nature to reach their placements. Once you have been allocated your locality this will remain for the remainder of your time on the course. Placements are organised by locality – Poole/Bournemouth, Salisbury, West Dorset and Yeovil. It is advised that you arrange your term time accommodation close to your placement locality rather than your taught site.
Placements and travel costs
Your theoretical learning will predominantly be based at our Lansdowne Campus (though Talbot campus is also utilised). Clinical placements will be in a variety of places within Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Hampshire in order to provide the necessary breadth of experience. This will involve some travel, and may require you to find short-term accommodation in order to participate in placements.
The NHS Student Bursaries will inform you of the travel expenses you may be able to claim when they assess your bursary; they will also advise on expenses you may claim for accommodation costs incurred as a result of block placements away from home.
If the placement locality you have been assigned is outside of the BH postcode area (e.g. Salisbury, Dorchester or Yeovil), you may be eligible for support for travelling to Bournemouth to study. Criteria and detailed information on the support available can be found here.
- Dorset: Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust around Bournemouth and Poole or West Dorset
- Wiltshire: The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, primarily across the Salisbury area
- Hampshire: The Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Somerset: The Somerset Partnership NHS Trust.
Each of our NHS-funded training courses contains a significant amount of placement experience, with this often being undertaken in outlying areas rather than solely in towns/cities. You need to consider this when making your application and be clear about what you will be undertaking. You will need to consider the realities of training within that geographical area and be specific about which would be suitable for you – whilst being flexible may in some circumstances increase your chances of success, being unrealistic will lead to problems. Don't forget to ensure that you take note of the locality you have been assigned when you receive your offer letter and arrange your accommodation accordingly. You can find out more about our placement locations here.
Background and experience
We want committed, keen, enthusiastic students who are going to make a real difference to the course they are studying. Our students learn from each other, as well as their academic staff, so it is really important to us that you can show us how much you care about the course you are interested in. Your UCAS personal statement is a great place to do this. Tell us about your personal achievements or any relevant work experience you have done, and show us how they make you the ideal candidate for a place on the course.
For Mental Health Nursing, we are looking for applicants who:
- Have an interest in Mental Health Nursing as well as the motivation and commitment to undertake the course
- Have undertaken relevant work experience
- Have a clear understanding of the profession
- Can demonstrate personal skills and qualities relevant to the course.
It is recommended that you have some care experience, preferably in a mental health setting. If you do not have any relevant experience, you will be required to demonstrate at interview that you have a clear insight into the nature of the profession that you will be training to enter.
Our courses are built around the NHS constitution values, and when assessing your application we will take these values into consideration:
- Working together for patients
- Respect and dignity
- Commitment to quality of care
- Improving lives
- Everyone counts.
Find out more about the NHS Constitution principles.
In the healthcare sector IT is now a vital tool for accessing and maintaining patient records, accessing literature to client care and conducting clinically-related research. As a student you will receive an introduction to IT near the beginning of your course and you will be provided with computer access and your own email address. During the course you will be expected to use your developing IT skills to produce assignments, to conduct literature searches, and to use client-related record systems in the clinical setting. Following instruction some of your study will be undertaken through web-based learning tools, for example by participating in online discussions.
We’ll use the UCAS applications to create a shortlist of candidates that we would like to find out more about. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply webpages.
Please note that interviews are part of our selection process and you must be able to demonstrate at interview that you show the necessary insight into nursing, as well as the motivation and commitment to become a nurse.
Our offer making process
Our offer making will typically be based on your three main graded qualifications, including any required subjects. Additional study may be valuable for breadth of study, and we will look at a range of qualifications and subjects, including the Extended Project Qualification and General Studies, although these may not be part of our offer.
If you do not meet the criteria of your original offer, we may still offer you a place. We will review your whole application and consider all academic qualifications (including those not in the offer) and the rest of the application to see if you have the academic potential to succeed on the course. If we feel the answer is yes, we will still confirm your place.
How we'll assess your application
We look at individual applications and make a tailored offer based on your potential to succeed on the course considering a range of factors, including your academic achievements, work and other experience, predicted grades, reference and personal statement, and in some cases, your performance at an interview/selection test.
If you meet one or more of our contextual data indicators for educational disadvantage (such as being in care, living in a low participation neighbourhood or in an area with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics), your offer could be between 20-60 points below the published tariff.
What to expect at interview
The interview session starts with a talk and tour of the Lansdowne Campus by current Mental Health Nursing students. This is followed by a group exercise lasting approximately half an hour and then an individual interview. The individual interviews last approximately 15 minutes and you should expect to be here for approximately four hours.
There will be a maximum of 15 applicants at each session for the group exercise. You may wish to bring some reading material to keep you occupied whilst waiting for your individual interview. You will be allocated the time for your individual interview on arrival so you will be aware of how long you may have to wait. Please arrive in good time; if you are late we reserve the right to refuse entry to the session.
You can find further information about interviews with the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences here.
In addition to the reference on your UCAS form, once we’ve received your application we will contact you to ask for a second reference; this can be a different teacher/lecturer, employer or person who knows you in a professional capacity.
Unconditional offer scheme - 2016 entry
Our Unconditional Offer Scheme seeks to reward exceptional applicants who are predicted to achieve top academic results. The scheme is offered to applicants on all courses who are predicted AAA at A-level/DDD in BTEC Extended Diploma, or above, or equivalent, subject to any course selection measures and meeting other entry criteria (i.e. required qualifications).
We believe that unconditional offers will reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible. International qualifications are considered in the scheme; however applicants must satisfy the English language requirements.
2017 entry requirements
The new UCAS Tariff will be used for September 2017 entry. If you have applied in the 2016 UCAS admissions cycle, you will use the previous UCAS Tariff.
The entry requirements for this course are 120 tariff points from 3 A-Levels or equivalent qualifications. BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM. Offers will be subject and grade specific, particularly in the science subjects.
UCAS have created a helpful calculator so you can calculate points to use for courses starting from September 2017 onwards.
GCSEs: This course requires a minimum of 4 GCSEs grades A*-C (or grade 4 or above in the newly reformed GCSE grading) including Maths and English or appropriate Key Skills level 2. A science subject is preferred.
Excluded subjects: This course does not accept General Studies A or AS-level.
Numeracy and literacy: We need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English and have basic numeracy skills. We look at level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework, which includes, but is not limited to, GCSEs, iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills level 2. If you do not have formal qualifications to this level or have alternatives, we may still be able to consider your application – please contact the askBU Enquiry Service to find out more.
We have outlined below other qualifications that we consider for this course. If you are studying a qualification that is not listed, please contact the askBU Enquiry Service – it may be that we can still consider it.
An Access Course is a qualification designed to provide a route into University if you do not have the traditional qualifications needed. They take one year to complete (full time) or alternatively part time over two years. There are also some distance learning options that we would be happy to consider providing that they are QAA accredited.
BU welcomes Access to HE Diploma applicants. This course requires applicants to Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 60 Credits, at least 45 at level 3 and the remainder at level 2 or equivalent. Offers will be subject and grade specific, particularly in the science subjects; any combination of grades to meet the overall tariff is acceptable.
- Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Distinction, Merit from the Extended Diploma. Offers will be grade subject and grade specific, particularly in the science subjects.
- Diploma: This course requires a Distinction, Merit from the Diploma in addition to an A-Level Grade B in a relevant subject to achieve the overall tariff. Offers will be subject and grade specific, particularly in the science subjects.
- 90-credit Diploma: The 90-credit Diploma will be accepted as part of your overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-Levels or equivalent qualifications. Offers will be subject and grade specific, particularly in the science subjects.
- Subsidiary Diploma: The Subsidiary Diploma will be accepted as part of your overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-Levels or equivalent qualifications. Offers will be subject and grade specific, particularly in the science subjects.
A combination of BTEC qualifications to meet the overall course tariff is also acceptable.
Cambridge Pre-U Diploma: We welcome applicants studying the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma or a combination of Pre-U subjects and A-levels.
European Baccalaureate: This course requires a minimum score of 75%.
International Baccalaureate (Diploma): The IB Diploma is welcomed as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB). This course requires 31 points including 5 points from each of the 3 Higher Level subjects.
Scottish Qualifications: Scottish Advanced Highers, Scottish Highers and other Scottish qualifications are all welcomed providing that your results meet the overall course tariff and include relevant subjects as appropriate.
Welsh Baccalaureate: The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma is welcomed alongside A-Levels or equivalent, to meet the overall course tariff.
OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Qualification: The OCR Extended Diploma or a combination of one Diploma and one Introductory Diploma is acceptable for entry to this course.
Extended Diploma:This course requires Distinction, Distinction, Merit. Offers will be subject and grade specific, particularly in the science subjects.
Other combinations of OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical qualifications to meet the overall course tariff may be acceptable.
Extended Project Qualification: The grade achieved for the Extended Project may be taken into account when considering whether or not to accept a candidate who has marginally failed to meet the conditions of their offer.
Open University: If you currently have some academic qualifications but do not have Biology/Human Biology and this is a required subject for your course we recommend you consider studying the Open University course SK277.
Other Health Care Level 3 Qualifications and Bridging Programmes: We are aware that there are a wide range of health care qualifications which people undertake in their workplace. Find out more information about Bridging Programmes and some frequently asked questions about them here. If you would like to know if the qualifications you have or are working towards meet our entry criteria; please ring 01202 967307 or email: email@example.com for further information and advice.
Deferred Entry: We are happy to consider applicants for deferred entry.
Non academic entry requirements
Occupational Health Checks
Mental Health Nursing is physically and mentally demanding and you will need to be mentally and physically able to undertake your chosen course. Places are offered subject to passing an OH check, and this will be carried out at the University Hospital Southampton. Health conditions need to be dealt with on an individual basis e.g. deafness, blindness, eczema (or other dermatological allergic reactions) on exposed areas, epilepsy, back problems, or mental health conditions, eating disorders and other disabilities. These do not automatically exclude you but please ensure that you fully disclose your condition to OH. The University can then consider the recommendations made by OH and whether reasonable adjustments can be made to support you on your chosen course. If you require more guidance please contact us for more information.
You will be required to provide a record of your immunity status or be vaccinated or have the required blood tests. Please see this table for the required immunisations. You may need to ask your GP or current OH department or find your childhood vaccination record for details of your past immunisation records. You should be aware that there may be charges made (for which you will be liable) relating to your gaining the appropriate immunity required prior to starting your training programme.
Students who refuse immunisations, or who cannot be immunised for medical reasons, will be reviewed on an individual basis by occupational health. Refusal to have immunisations may result in the student not being allowed to attend practice placement and being withdrawn from the course. There is no opportunity to appeal against the requirements of the immunisation policy.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check (previously known as CRB)
All successful applicants will be subject to an Enhanced Disclosure and Barred List check; this will be a condition of offer and will need to be completed prior to commencing the course. Please see the Government website for the most up to date information.
International entry requirements
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
- IELTS (Academic) 7.0 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading or equivalent.
View further information about our English language requirements.
If you do not meet the English language requirement for your degree then why not join our Pre-Sessional English course. Successful completion of our Pre-Sessional English course will meet your English language requirement, without the need to re-take IELTS.
Academic entry requirements
You can find details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our entry requirements for non-UK students’ page.
We offer a number of preparatory programmes through the Bournemouth University International College. These courses offer you progression from High School in your home country to a Bachelor’s degree at BU.
- Students in work/further study six months after graudation: 100%*
- Students in professional/managerial job six months after graduation: 100%*
A diverse range of roles are open to you as a mental health nurse, allowing you to forge a career that you're truly passionate about. You can work within the NHS or in the private sector and can be based in a hospital environment or community setting.
Being able to educate those with mental health problems about how to work towards a recovery, as well as supporting their families, is important regardless of the job you have and this course will ensure you're equipped to do exactly that.
Within six months of graduating, 100% of our students are in work within the healthcare sector or further study. We have excellent links with service users and service providers, allowing you to build relationships before you finish your course and enhance your employment prospects as a result.
Among the roles you can go into after graduating are:
- Mental health nurse in an in-patient environment (e.g. acute admissions unit, elderly care, treatment wards, psychiatric intensive care unit or rehabilitation)
- Community mental health nurse
- Staff nurse
- Specialist nurse (covering the likes of eating disorders, addictions, forensic psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry or psychological therapist).
On graduating successfully from this course, you can apply for registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).
Industries worked in
- Chairty sector
Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our Postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.
*All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.
The National Student Survey
The below information all comes from the National Student Survey completed by some of the students who graduated from this course last year.
- Students agreed staff are good at explaining things - 90%
- Students agreed staff made the subject interesting - 76%
- Students were satisfied overall - 83%
- Students agreed they got sufficient advice and support - 90%
76% of the course is assessed by coursework
In addition to coursework assessments which allow you to combine your practice and theoretical learning you will experience assessed practical exams and there is also a small amount of written exam work to complete.
19% is scheduled learning and teaching activities
In addition to scheduled learning and teaching, 50% of your time will be spent on placement which means you’ll gain the practical skills necessary to work as a nurse. Your study time at BU will be split between scheduled learning and teaching activities and guided independent learning, such as preparing for and writing up coursework assignments.
All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.