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Mental Health Nursing (BN)

  • B760

3 years (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

The Cardiff Bachelor of Nursing (BN) is an innovative and contemporary programme, redesigned for 2012 to meet the new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 2010 standards. Students specialise in one of three fields of nursing (Adult, Child or Mental Health) from the start of the programme. The integrated nature of the programme enables students from all three fields to learn together, sharing ideas while focusing on the needs of their individual field.

Mental health nurses work with individuals, families and carers to offer help and support in dealing with a wide variety of mental health conditions. They may specialise in working with children and young people, older people or working age adults. The Cardiff nursing programme is designed to develop practitioners with the skills and knowledge to work in a dynamic, changing health care environment. During your time as a student at Cardiff you will learn about promoting health, preventing illness and delivering high quality, holistic care that is based on sound evidence.

A hospital

Key Facts

UCAS Code B760 (September Intake)
Duration 3 years
How to apply
Accreditation  Successful completion of the BN leads to eligibility for professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Typical places available The School admits 280 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical applications received 3,620

Funding for Healthcare related courses

How to apply for NHS funding (PDF)

NHS Bursary Scheme

Fees and Funding

Typical A-level offer BBB
Admissions Tutor Anne-Marie Evans
Tel Number 029 2068 7538
Email address
School website

What is Mental Health Nursing?

Mental health nurses work with individuals, families and carers to offer help and support in dealing with a wide variety of mental health conditions. They may specialise in working with children and young people, older people or working age adults.

Mental health nurses work in multi-disciplinary teams, liaising with psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, GPs, social workers, other health professionals and the Third Sector. Care is provided in a variety of settings including hospitals, patients’/clients’ own homes, community health care centres, specialist units or secures environments. While the key role and challenge of the mental health nurse is to form therapeutic relationships with mentally ill people and their families, it is imperative that they are also able to meet the physical needs of those in their care – providing all-round, holistic recovery focused care for their patients/clients.

Mental Health Nursing at Cardiff

Future mental health care presents many challenges. These will include long-term conditions, an ageing population, and providing more community based services outside of hospitals for individuals and families across the lifespan. The Mental Health field of the Cardiff nursing programme is informed by current mental health nursing practice, as well as the most up-to-date research. A focus on psychological therapies, counselling and psychosocial interventions forms a key part of the course.

Our aim is to produce mental health nurses who can act autonomously and independently. We will nurture your ability to deliver essential and complex care to a very high standard, utilising evidence based practice and modern technology, and to be confident at performing a variety of roles which may include practitioner, educator, leader and researcher. You will be a mental health nurse who is ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘fit for practice’(NMC 2010).

The Cardiff nursing programme is designed to develop practitioners with the skills and knowledge to work in a dynamic, changing health care environment. During your time as a student at Cardiff you will learn about promoting health, preventing illness and delivering high quality, holistic care that is based on sound evidence.

This course provides an education which is commensurate with contemporary mental health nursing practice which seeks to:

  • Apply the values of the recovery approach (promoting meaningful hope whilst working with the user to minimise social exclusion);
  • Promote equality in care;
  • Provide evidence based care and improve outcomes for people with mental distress/health problems/ill health.

Essential Skills

As well as being taught the fundamental nursing skills required for holistic, dignified patient care (including nutrition, mobility, hygiene and so on), your degree will include the study and application of the clinical sciences (anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology and medicines management), as well as key psychological and psychosocial interventions. As well as physical health assessments, you will learn about the sociology and history of mental illness and mental health provision.


You will develop essential communication and therapeutic skills and strategies, as well as an understanding of issues surrounding empowerment and advocacy - crucial to delivering patient centred care. You will study modules that aim to develop your awareness of ethical issues, placed within the context of current mental health legislation, and your ability to identify the way in which policy influences service provision. Your degree will develop your awareness of diversity issues and broaden your understanding of health promotion, investigating strategies for tackling stigma and discrimination.

The Role of the Nurse

Understanding the development of the nurse’s role will be crucial to your degree. Learning to reflect critically on practice, analysing evidence, and evaluating care delivery will be a key element of your development. We will teach you to work effectively in the multi-disciplinary teams required to provide effective health care, based on partnership with patients / clients and carers, and other health providers.

In your final year, you will be encouraged to develop an in-depth understanding of the organisation and culture of modern health care systems. You will develop crucial insights into the management of resources, time and information, and work to develop your negotiation and leadership skills.

Year 1 Modules

  • Professional Values and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Introduction to Public Health, Health Promotion and Behaviour Change
  • Developing Effective Professional Relationships through Communication and Team Working
  • Safe Practice in Essential and Field Specific Care

Year 2 Modules

  • Development of Professional Practice
  • Using Evidence to Inform Nursing Practice
  • Holistic Assessment and Recognition of Health and Social Care Needs
  • Planning, Intervention and Review of Care
  • Partnership Working within Complex Care

Year 3 Modules

  • Professional, Legal and Ethical Challenges of Complex Care
  • Evaluation of Care
  • Leadership and Management in Health Organisations
  • Management of Complex Care

We will help you develop the confidence to work independently and autonomously. Utilising effective communication skills, ensuring dignity is maintained and care is compassionate and respectful, you will work in partnership with patients / clients, families and carers, other health and social care professionals and Third Sector organisations.

Lectures, tutorials, workshops, simulations, seminar style discussions, online discussions, presentations and specific group work will all feature as part of your degree. At the start of your studies you will be assigned a personal tutor to provide pastoral support and an academic supervisor to provide academic guidance.


Modules will be assessed using a variety of methods, including written assignments, exams, presentations and a clinical portfolio.


The Cardiff BN is divided equally between theory and practice in order to maximise the link between clinical and theoretical learning. Students spend 50% of their time in University, and 50% of their time in clinical practice with the support of experienced qualified nurses. Practical learning opportunities will provide you with the opportunity to learn within a variety of settings, including the home environment, hospitals and the community, and in both the public and private sectors. They give students the opportunity to build their expertise, developing vital skills, supported by clinicians who will support your professional and personal growth and ensure you can meet NMC requirements. Whilst in clinical practice you will be supported by a mentor who is able to provide advice and guidance on a whole range of clinical matters.


Our degree programme promotes patient-centred care and values-based nursing.

This is enhanced by opportunities for shared learning experiences with students studying Adult and Children’s Nursing. Such integration not only offers the benefits of peer learning, but also the opportunity to place your specific field into the context of wider and more complex care. Shared learning is a particular feature of the programme in years one and two, while year three is predominantly field specific as you prepare to qualify within your chosen field.

Clinical Skills

We have some of the UK's leading facilities to help our students develop fundamental skills. The highly-equipped skills laboratories in our Clinical Simulation Suite enable realistic ward, community, home and emergency simulations.

These lifelike simulations mean that you are able to practice and develop essential skills safely, developing your confidence and expertise so that you feel prepared when real life situations present themselves in clinical areas.

Simulation scenarios for students in the Mental Health field focus on developing your interpersonal and communication skills. Supported and informed by your theoretical learning, you will utilise the skills you learn in many different clinical situations. We will help you develop your confidence and competence using digitally recorded sessions in our communication booths, enabling you and your fellow students to reflect on and review your skills.

Typical A-level Offer BBB. No specified subjects.
Typical WBQ Offer Grade A in the Core plus grades BB at A-level.
Typical Int Bacc Offer Contact the School for detailed information

Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here

Please find here further information about admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme.

In 2010, 95% of the School’s graduates were in employment within six months of graduation while others were in engaged in further study or taking time out to travel.

Employers included: various Health boards and NHS Trusts, international health services and higher education institutions. Career destinations included: midwife, nurse, advanced nurse practitioner, health visitor, research nurse, ward manager, and lecturer.

For useful information and resources relating to mental health nursing, including a video on this career pathway click here.

Clinical placements are an essential part of Nursing and Midwifery degree programmes across the UK. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) require nursing and midwifery students to complete 50% of the programme in clinical practice.

Cardiff School of Healthcare Sciences works with a number of healthcare organisations to provide a range of suitable clinical placements so that at the end of the programme you will have experienced a wide range of healthcare provision.

While in clinical practice you will be supported by a practicing nurse or midwife, who will be able to advise, support and supervise you throughout your placement. Practice learning opportunities are vital to your learning experience, and our students value the solid grounding in clinical practice that placements provide.

Placements – What to Expect

In order for you to be able to plan ahead during the academic year, students are provided with a ‘Placement Line’ at the beginning of each academic year which details the expected clinical areas you are going to be allocated to. Ensuring that you experience the full range of clinical experiences means that you can expect to work a variety of hours, from the traditional working week of Monday to Friday 9 to 5, to morning shifts which start between 7am and 8am in the morning, afternoon shifts which can finish as late as 9.30pm, night shifts and weekends.

Placements will be in hospitals, nursing homes and in the community across South East Wales - mainly situated from Barry in the West to Chepstow in the East and from Cardiff in the South to Abergavenny and Merthyr to the North, meaning that while several placements are in central Cardiff, you will need to expect to travel to some placements during your programme.

Placements are allocated so that you are able to get there using public transport. The longest you would be expected to travel by public transport is approximately 90 minutes; however, these would be the exception and you would normally be able to reach placement using public transport in approximately 30-60 minutes.

For more information on placements visit the School website.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Anne-Marie Evans Mental Health Nursing 

Telephone: 029 2068 7538 



School Website:

More information

School of Healthcare Sciences