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Mental Health Nursing (PGDip)

Course Description

Mental health nurses care for people suffering from various mental health conditions and their family and carers to offer help and support in dealing with the condition. Although it can be demanding and intense work, it can also be exceptionally rewarding.

Mental health nursing is a constantly evolving field, with as many as one in four people believed to experience some mental health condition each year. The Mental Health Nursing programme at LSBU is designed to equip you with the skills and competencies to meet the challenges of providing effective mental health care.

Throughout the course, you will gain practice experience in a wide range of in-patient and community settings, reflecting the diversity of mental health specialties. This could include acute psychiatry, child and adolescent mental health, forensic psychiatry, eating disorders, addictions and rehabilitation.

This course equips you with the skills to work in a diverse range of mental health nursing roles across a range of settings, including the NHS and the private health care sector.

You will be compassionate with lots of patience and the ability to remain calm under pressure, with reserves of mental stamina. Exceptional people skills, communicating clearly with people from different backgrounds is essential. The main resource mental health nurses have to draw upon is themselves and how they engage effectively with service.

You can choose to study Mental Health Nursing at our Southwark campus based in the heart of London or at our Havering campus in Harold Wood, Essex.

See the website http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/courses/course-finder/mental-health-nursing-pre-registration-pgdip


You will be taught separately from the three-year undergraduate students and will study the following:

Year 1:
- Applied biological and pharmacological sciences for nursing
This module introduces biological and pharmacological sciences and applies this to the chosen field of nursing.

- Frameworks and concepts for mental health nursing
This Module introduces mental health service provision. An exploration of the frameworks for care and underpinning philosophies will enable you to appreciate and develop your knowledge and skills in holistic and inclusive assessment and care planning across the service users' personal recovery journey.

- Public health and well-being
This module explores national and international health policies and examines the broader social, economic, environmental and political factors that impact health and well-being. It allows you to investigate issues that have an impact on the health of individuals and communities, recognising the importance of supportive social, physical and cultural environments to promote health and well-being. The experience of mental health, physical illness and learning disabilities will be explored within the context of children's and adults lives and the impact these may have on physical and mental well-being

Year 2:
- Best practice in mental health nursing
Practice to service development and change. It also aims to enable course members to make the transition from students to registered mental health nurses.

- Working with complex presentations
This module builds on Year 1 of the programme. Having established an in-depth knowledge of common mental health presentations, assessment, intervention and evaluation You are now required to consider more complex presentations. The focus will be on the student developing the required knowledge and skills to manage effectively the varied and sometimes conflicting demands which arise out of complex situations across the life span and differing services. The emphasis will be on effective assessment and management of risk, where a critical understanding will develop of the complexities inherent in service user need, service provision and the emerging process for decision-making.

- Politics and leadership
Exploration of the process of health care policy making and realising leadership potential. Studying this module should help you to appreciate not only what is involved in leadership, but also how each individual nurse can make a contribution to the leadership within their area of practice.

- Dissertation (optional)
This module provides you with the opportunity to undertake original enquiry in a chosen area of professional practice. Through the preparatory learning set you will be able to consolidate and extend your knowledge and understanding of research and evaluation design and associated methods of enquiry. You will be supported to develop the practical skills necessary to plan and carry out your chosen project. The preparatory learning set will address ethical and governance issues and processes relevant to your project.


This course will equip you with the skills to work in a diverse range of mental health nursing roles across a range of settings, including the NHS and the private health care sector. Successful completion of the course fulfils the requirements for graduates to be able to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a Registered Nurse - Mental Health. Recent graduates from this course have gone onto a range of nurse practitioner roles within mental health nursing.

Role and responsibilities

Day-to-day, the work broadly involves working in the community and hospitals taking on a variety of tasks – from giving patients medication, to assessing and supporting a patient's needs.

With experience, there are multiple opportunities for specialisation as your career progresses – such as: alcohol or substance misuse, forensic psychology, psychotherapeutic interventions or working with offenders.

Working hours and salary

Hours can be demanding for Mental Health nurses. Long shifts, unsocial hours and possibly being called to work at the last minute are all common. Salaries start around £21,000. However, with career progression and developed experience this can extend to well over £50,000. (Prospects)

Career progression

As a graduate from this course, you will be able to apply for further study at postgraduate level. Once you gain a significant level of professional practice experience, you will be able to consider our part-time MSc Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and MSc Mental Health Practice (Older People). Find out more about these courses through our online CPPD prospectus.

LSBU Employability Services

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

- direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
- Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
- mentoring and work shadowing schemes.


- Time spent on placement
During the course you will spend 50% of your time involved in academic study and 50% in clinical practice within a broad variety of healthcare settings. A clinical practice placement allows you to put theory into practice by working with a range of health professionals in clinical situations to develop the skills, knowledge and experience required to become a competent nurse. Although sometimes initially challenging, practice learning is one of the most interesting and exciting aspects of learning to be a nurse.

Clinical settings

At LSBU you will experience a variety of clinical settings such as NHS acute Trusts, community placements, independent sector and voluntary sector organisations.

Examples of current placement areas:
- Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust for students based at our Southwark campus
- South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust for students based at our Southwark campus
- We are proud to be the only provider for the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT). Havering students are placed at this Trust

Structure of placements

Placements are spread over the two years:

Your first clinical placements are designed to introduce you to working in a professional setting and to develop essential care and basic assessment skills, infection control and learn about safeguarding vulnerable people.

You will then build on this experience and take on more responsibility, progressing your clinical reasoning skills and begin to look after small groups of patients making confident, proactive decisions for their health and management with less supervision.

You will also be able to choose a speciality (e.g. working with Clinical Nurse Specialists, specialist services or independent and 3rd sector providers), or a different context of care (e.g. prison, private health care facility, social care, charity, hospice etc.), or a lived experience of a certain condition (e.g. charity work, carer shadowing, etc.)

Supported by a mentor

Whilst in the clinical placement we ensure our nursing students receive continuous support and guidance from a dedicated mentor and practice learning teams made up of lecturers and practitioners.


Counselling and Communication Suite:
Our counselling and communication suite is the ideal place for Mental Health students to role play realistic work-based scenarios. It contains two adjoining rooms with a one-way window and audio link, that allows students to practice one-to-one situations with 'clients' while they are monitored by teaching staff in the adjoining room.

Visit the Mental Health Nursing (PGDip) page on the London South Bank University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

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