Students must have a first degree to be eligible for this course. We also offer a BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing if you don't have a degree. Students on this PG Dip course will work alongside the BSc (Hons) Mental Health students; however some units will be grouped with other PG Dip students from other nursing pathways, and your academic tutor will focus on your individual development at Master's level.
You can view information on our facilities and take a 360 tour of our simulation suites here.
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, technicians and research students.
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.
- Becoming a Professional: Gain transferable professional, academic and postgraduate skills. You'll develop knowledge and attitudes relating to postgraduate study while examining the scope of professional responsibilities of becoming a registered nurse.
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.
- Cultural Competence in Mental Health Nursing: Reflect on the contemporary nature of mental health care and the values underpinning nursing practice. You'll assess issues in the service user's life, particularly for mental health and wellbeing, and evaluate a range of ethical theories and principles and values for professional practice in mental health.
- Acute Mental Health - Crisis, Wellbeing & Recovery: Gain knowledge and skills for working with people who are experiencing acute mental health problems. You'll explore the interaction between vulnerability, life events, chronic difficulties and coping skills in acute mental health care while learning to identify signs and symptoms of acute mental illness. This unit will help you assess health promotional activities such as relapse prevention, psycho education and medication management in reducing the negative effects of mental illness.
- Principles of Enquiry & Evidence-based Practice in Health and Social Care: An introduction to debates on approaches to enquiry and knowledge production, and how different philosophical assumptions shape the research process and knowledge claims.
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.
- The Context of Mental Health - Communication, Leadership & Management: Develop your understanding of how mental health services are organised and explore leadership and management skills. You'll assess approaches to commissioning mental health services, analyse the legal and ethical dimension of registered practice, review approaches to clinical supervision and assess theories of change and change management in mental health settings.
- Supporting Recovery Journeys: Gain practical skills will explore the underlying principles of care for people with serious mental illnesses. This unit combines practice, theory and service user experience in the drive to improve recovery.
Depending on the modules you studied in your first degree, you may be able to skip up to three units in Year 1. We'll decide this when seeing your application and university transcripts.
You'll experience various assessments including written assignments, group presentations, examinations, assessment of clinical competence in the practice-learning environment and on placement, practice reflection and developing a portfolio.
Your reflective learning sessions during and after placements will prepare you to step into advanced practice roles after getting your qualification. These will ensure you have the necessary knowledge and skills for engaging in further learning throughout the rest of your career.
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 PGDip Mental Health Nursing (with Professional Registration).
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.
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
- Yeovil: Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation 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 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.
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.
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.
Full entry requirements
The normal requirements for embarking upon this course are:
- Possession of a 2:2 degree or equivalent professional qualification.
- A minimum of 4 GCSEs (grades A*-C) including Maths and English or appropriate Key Skills Level 2. A Science subject is preferred.
International entry requirements
From September 2017 we will be welcoming international students to this course.
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:
View further information about our English language requirements.
A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.
You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our international entry requirements page.
Occupational Health (OH) Checks
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.
The University has an expectation that all students will comply with the vaccination programme. This ensures that you will be able to undertake the wide range of training placements that your course will require. Occasionally some vaccinations are contraindicated in certain medical conditions. OH will advise the University in these cases.The University will consider students on an individual basis. Refusal to have immunisations will 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.
After completing this course, you will possess the practical skills and theoretical knowledge for embarking on a rewarding career in mental health nursing.
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).
Industries worked in
- NHS (hospital and community)
- Private and independent health care sector (nursing homes and private hospitals)
- Academic research.
Our graduate employment rate for the BSc (Hons) route of this course is 100%*, we currently do not have any graduate employment statistics for the PG Dip route of the course.
If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Postgraduate Diploma, you can look into our range of Master's programmes.
*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.