About the course
As many as one in three people in the UK have issues with their mental health at some stage of their life. Nurses who specialise in mental health, a complex and demanding area, work with GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, and others, to help care for patients with mental illnesses.
As a mental health nurse, you focus on the therapeutic relationship with those with mental ill health, and with their families. You provide the support and treatment to meet their physical, psychological, social, mental and spiritual care needs. More than anything else, mental health nursing requires empathy, to care about the people you are working with.
Unlike many of the older, traditional nursing schools, at Essex you receive a fresh, contemporary and relevant nurse education programme, integrated into a University that is one of the UK's top ten research institutions. You work with local organisations to ensure that you gain the best experience possible during your time with us, and studying alongside other health professionals means that you also have the opportunity to gain expert knowledge from them.
There are four main types of pre-registration nursing degree – child, learning disabilities, adult and mental health. At Essex we specialise in adult and mental health nursing courses at both undergraduate and Master’s level; for a full list of the courses available, and information on all of the routes into Nursing available at Essex including our Return to Practice course, please see our department pages.
Half of your studies will be spent working in clinical settings – for example, in a ward, a health centre or in client’s homes. You will be working alongside nurses as you practise and perfect your skills.
Placements are based in NHS, private and voluntary settings throughout Essex. Essex covers a large area (3,465 sq km /1,300 sq miles), so clinical placements will normally be allocated to one area for the whole of your course, either in the SE Essex, SW Essex, W Essex, Mid Essex or NE Essex areas. Given the size of the county, all of these areas may require some traveling to placement.
During your time in placement you will work shift patterns equivalent to a 37.5 hour week. This includes early shifts, late shifts, night shifts, weekend and bank holiday working.
You can choose to study this course at either our Colchester campus or
our Southend campus - and your placements will correspond to the campus you choose.
Colchester students will have placements in north Essex, while Southend students
will have placements in south Essex.
Our course has been designed for those who wish to learn the science and art of Nursing with a focus on mental health. This programme balances the study of the clinical skills of nursing with academic study at degree-level. Developed in consultation with nurses and service managers, it offers a modern approach to nursing in line with NHS aspirations for patient-centred care.
Successful completion of the programme leads to admission to the Professional Register maintained by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, as a “Registered Mental Health Nurse”, along with a BSc honours qualification.
We are committed to embedding the NHS Constitution Values (which are strongly reflected in our University values) into everything we do. They define the behaviours and expectations of all our staff and students, underpinning the work we do in the university, clinical arena and other workplaces.
We understand that not all of our students and staff are employed within the NHS, but these values uphold the underlying principles of excellent care as a standard and as such we expect that anyone who has any aspect of their work which ultimately cares for others, will aspire to uphold these values.
For us, involving not only our students but service users, experts by experience, carers and NHS/non NHS professionals in the creation and delivery of all programmes is vital.
Our expert staff
A unique feature of our School is that many of our staff work with local NHS Trusts and other local agencies, which enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and practice.
We specialise in applied, multidisciplinary research that addresses issues of national and international concern to health and social care policy and practice and related fields. We also host the NIHR Research Design Service for the East of England.
The School of Health and Human Sciences is located at two sites; in the Kimmy Eldridge building at our Colchester campus and in the Gateway Building at our Southend campus.
We have purpose-built nursing skills labs at both our Colchester and Southend campuses to meet the needs of a growing and lively School. We offer excellent physical and online resources in terms of libraries, computer labs, datasets, archives and other research materials.
Successful completion of our BSc Nursing (Mental Health) leads to eligibility to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on the Professional Register as a “Registered Mental Health Nurse” allowing you to practise as a nurse in the UK.
Our Nursing programmes consist of three terms per year. This structure adopts a developmental approach to the mastering of nursing skills and development of knowledge and understanding. It has a 50:50 split between theory and practice which means that for 50% of your programme, you undertake clinical practice by working with nurses in a variety of settings (primary and secondary care, public and private sectors, adult and the elderly, acute care and specialist services), the knowledge and skills gained enable you to empower the patient/client in access to and use of health care services. Service user-centred care planning emphasises the holistic nature of health and illness. Alongside this experience, you are given the opportunity to rehearse practical skills in a controlled environment further preparing you for working in the practice environment.
As you undertake a significant part of your programme in placement areas we work in partnership with the NHS and the independent health and social care sector across Essex where you will spend your placement hours so that you gain the best clinical learning experiences. Whilst on placement you will have a mentor allocated to you and contact with a member of the academic team linked to that placement. You will work shift patterns whilst in placement equivalent to a 37.5 hour week. This includes early shifts, late shifts, night shifts, weekend and bank holiday working.
Attendance at all parts of this programme is compulsory (including all modules) and must be evidenced in order to register as a nurse.
These carefully selected modules will give you the chance to explore, question, and create powerful ideas. Picked to give you an extensive and in-depth education, they’ll equip you with the specialist knowledge, vital transferrable skills, and the confidence to make a genuine difference to the world around you.
We’re reactive, we’re pioneering, we never stand still, so modules might change from year to year in response to new developments and innovation. Those listed below show how a typical course might look, but more detail on course structure, including details of all optional modules, is available on our Programme Specification.
What is the role of a nurse? What are the core values behind the profession? In this module, you will be introduced to the fundamentals of nursing practice, including the skills required and the context in which this can be delivered.
The aim of this module is to develop your communication, numeracy, literacy, research and IT skills to aid your independent learning and help you make the most of your studies.
As a Registered Nurse, an understanding of biosciences and how body systems are affected by health and illness is integral to your safe and effective practice. The aim of this module is to introduce you to the field of bioscience, allowing you to explore the biology of the human body and develop your understanding of altered physiology and how this influences human health.
What is psychosocial care and why is it important? In order to answer this question, you will be introduced to the principles of psychology, sociology and public health, so that you can understand how they interact to influence our health. You will then explore the concepts of health and illness and the reasons behind different outcomes from a psychosocial perspective.
What are the principles that underpin mental health nursing practice? In order to answer this question, you will be introduced to the key philosophies of mental health nursing. You will look at different approaches to nursing in this field including person-centre care and the Recovery Model.
This module consists of assignments which you have to complete in Year 1 as part of a Portfolio in order to progress to Year 2. You have to meet four Learning Outcomes in order to successfully complete the module: Outcome 1 is to evidence correct documentation of your practice assessment; Outcome 2 is to evidence completion of all mandatory training activities for Year 1; Outcome 3 is to complete an Insight workbook on Child and Adolescent Nursing; Outcome 4 is to submit a 1,000 word reflective essay on two Year 1 placement experiences.
Building on your knowledge of psychosocial care acquired in earlier modules, you will further develop your understanding of public health issues and look at how psychological and sociological factors can affect health and healthcare provision.
The aim of this module is to develop your ability to support and care for an individual who lacks capacity or who has compromised capacity to make decisions for themselves.
The changing nature of health and social care provision means that the ability to work collaboratively with other healthcare professions is integral to nursing practice and vital for optimal patient care. The aim of this module is to equip you with the skills and knowledge required to engage within a multi professional team.
Healthcare research is vital to the nursing profession. It can influence current and future practice and be used to improve the quality of care and patient outcomes. The aim of this module is to introduce you to the idea of research and equip you with the skills and confidence to question and critically appraise practice.
How do we care for people in acute mental health crisis? The aim of this module is to develop your understanding of the nature of acute illness, causes and treatment options. You will explore a variety of factors including nursing interventions, treatment options, risk assessment and management, relapse indicators and crisis management planning as well as the legal and ethical issues surrounding community and hospital care.
How do we care for people with on-going mental health issues? What are the legal and ethical issues involved? Taking a bio-psycho-social approach, you will explore the principles behind this area of practice to develop your understanding of the nature of on-going mental health issues and the causes and treatment options available, based on the principles of recovery.
This module consists of assignments which you have to complete in Year 2 as part of a Portfolio in order to progress to Year 3. You have to meet four Learning Outcomes in order to successfully complete the module: Outcome 1 is to evidence correct documentation of your practice assessment; Outcome 2 is to evidence completion of all mandatory training activities for Year 2; Outcome 3 is to complete an Insight workbook on Maternity Care; Outcome 4 is to submit a 1,000 word reflective essay on two Year 2 placement experiences.
As a registered nurse in a clinical setting, you will be required to manage a variety of resources such as people, time and physical supplies. The aim of this module is to equip you with the skills required to see the wider picture and prepare you for this role as a leader and manager of nursing care.
Having been introduced to the idea of research in earlier modules, you will now have the opportunity to engage with the research process further and develop your experience by planning a short project to prepare a research proposal.
The aim of this module is to develop your understanding of the Care Quality Commission standards and the impact of related regulatory changes on your work, so that you are able to promote and deliver safe and effective practice within current NHS governance frameworks.
The aim of this module is to ensure that you can demonstrate you are fit for practice and have the skills, knowledge and attitude required to enter the Register. You will also need to demonstrate your understanding of the big issues in mental health care and in relation to future service provision within the UK .
This module consists of assignments which you have to complete in Year 3 as part of a Portfolio in order to graduate. You have to meet four Learning Outcomes in order to successfully complete the module: Outcome 1 is to evidence correct documentation of your practice assessment; Outcome 2 is to evidence completion of all course hours and completion of a ‘Self-declaration of Health form’; Outcome 3 is to complete an Insight workbook on Learning Disabilities; Outcome 4 is to submit a 1,000 word reflective essay on two final year placement experiences.
- Lectures inform you of the most important topics, with classes allowing you to consolidate your learning through discussion
- We work closely in partnership with the NHS and the independent health sector to provide placement opportunities
- Modules have their own accompanying webpages on Moodle where you can download relevant readings, power-points, podcasts and YouTube clips, and contribute to online discussions
- You will be assessed through presentations, coursework and assessments of practical settings
- You will also undertake two written exams, one in year one and the other in year two
UK entry requirements
GCSE: Mathematics and English Language C
BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD (in relevant subject)
NHS Constitution and Values
As part of the selection process, students will be expected to demonstrate effective communication skills alongside good knowledge and a clear understanding of the scope of work that a nurse is required to undertake as well as the significance of the NHS Constitution and its core values (you can find further information on these on the Health Education East of England website and the Gov.UK webpages https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-nhs-constitution-for-england.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
IELTS entry requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 7.0 in each element.
Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.
Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.
The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.
Interview and tests
Our BSc Nursing (Mental Health) course is available at both our Colchester and Southend campuses, and you'll need to apply to one or the other. If your application is successful, and we are able to invite you to an interview, the campus you have selected is where your interview will take place. We are unable to offer an interview or consider you for the same course at both campuses. Contact our undergraduate admissions office for further information.
If you’re shortlisted for interview based on your application, you will be invited onto campus. As part of your visit you will complete a literacy and numeracy test. If you successfully complete this you will then have an interview on the same day. Offers for the course will only be made after a successful interview.
The interview and test will form part of the wider day where you will also be able to tour the campus, meet our academics and students and ask any questions you might have about studying with us.
Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.