Once registered as a mental health nurse, there are on-going requirements for education and skills development and a host of opportunities to go further and learn more. During your first year as a newly qualified nurse, you'll get extra support and guidance through the Flying Start programme.
A registered Nurse enters the profession as a ‘Level 5 Practitioner.’ They can choose to stay at that level, keeping up-to-date through continuing professional development (CPD) or undertake further learning and development, both in the workplace and through courses. This can lead to progression through the career pathway to senior, advanced or consultant level.
Nurses at all levels need to show strong clinical leadership. Students and healthcare support workers look to staff nurses for guidance and support, while at higher levels nurses may lead teams, departments or services. This leadership role includes motivating and empowering staff to treat all patients with dignity, privacy and compassion and taking responsibility for ensuring excellence in clinical care.
Senior nurses bring key knowledge and skills to specialist and multidisciplinary teams, while nurse consultants lead whole departments and services, informing practice and policy development at regional and national levels.
Once you've qualified and gained experience as a registered mental health nurse, there are a wide variety of specialisms to choose from including:
- substance misuse
- forensic mental health
- early intervention
- dementia care
- children and young peoples’ mental health
- community mental health
There are also opportunities to move into service management, public health, voluntary or private sector organisations, research or education. Many mental health nurses combine aspects of these roles with on-going clinical practice.
Revalidation is a process which nurses need to follow to maintain their registration with the NMC every 3 years.
The requirements for revalidation are:
- 450 practice hours
- 35 hours of CPD including 20 hours of participatory learning
- five pieces of practice-related feedback
- five written reflective accounts
- reflective discussion
- health and character declaration
- professional indemnity arrangement
Revalidation is an ongoing process throughout your career and aims to promote good practice and to maintain and strengthen public confidence in the profession.