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BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing

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University of Suffolk on Ipswich Waterfront
UCAS code: 
Institution code: 

Hospital Placement Locations: 
Ipswich Hospital (R) West Suffolk Hospital (W)

Three years full-time.

This course starts in February of each year.

Typical Offer: 

2017 entry: 100 UCAS tariff points (or above)
BCC (A-Level), MMM (BTEC).  

2018 entry: 96 UCAS tariff points (or above)
CCC (A-Level), MMM (BTEC).   

Please see Entry Requirements section below.


To apply visit the UCAS website

Contemporary nursing practice is based upon sound theoretical foundations based in the life sciences, knowledge of interpersonal working, problem solving and ethical reasoning. The programme team work in collaboration with the student to help them become the nurse they wish to become. The aim is for an informed, enthusiastic, motivated but above all competent registered nurse. BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing enables students to gain a professional qualification and an Honours degree. Students will in addition be encouraged to develop the skills of independent learning, critical analysis, leadership, management and decision making. Students develop the knowledge, values, understanding and skills required to care for individuals to enhance recovery from mental illness and promote mental health wellbeing. Mental health nursing means working with individuals within a close professional relationship to help them achieve self care and independence. This is a development process for the person being cared for and requires that the nurse has the highest levels of interpersonal and intrapersonal skill. Personal insight and emotional maturity are essential characteristics of the qualified mental health nurse. This course aims to develop both as essentials to effective practice.

The Department of Nursing Studies is committed to embedding the NHS Constitution 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 and in the practice setting. You can view the full NHS England Constitution and Values on the Gov.UK website:

This course offers students the opportunity to focus on the specific health needs of service users and their family/carer(s). The nature of nursing means that students will be involved in working with the variety of people who access the services provided by the health care system. This will range in both the age of the patient and for a variety of reasons, either short or longer term mental health experiences and with the associated complexity of physical, social and emotional needs.
All of the people that Nurses work with will have individual and diverse needs. Therefore, the philosophy underpinning the course and the skills students develop are built around person-centred care and working in partnership with people and their family/carer(s). A range of health professionals and agencies will be jointly involved in care delivery with the nurse.

Students have the opportunity to study as a member of a small group which enables the development of a supportive environment for discussion of the many sensitive and emotional issues that arise as a result of caring for people and their family/carer(s). In year 1 this will enable them to reflect upon their effective relationship and communication skills. In years 2 and 3 of the programme participation in a reflective group helps students develop problem solving and refined decision making skills which will be based upon case scenarios and the lived experience from clinical practice. The clinical skills laboratory and the use of sophisticated computerised technology enable students to practice clinical skills in a safe environment. The course delivers a blended approach to teaching and learning at the Ipswich Waterfront Campus. Other approaches to learning include; clinical skills teaching; use of a virtual learning environment; large group teaching; small group teaching, presentations and private study. Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding locality are the designated base sites for clinical practice. Theoretical sessions are based at Ipswich for all mental health students. All clinical placements throughout the three year course are person focussed.

Each base site typically offers clinical placements in the following areas/or specialities: When working in practice you complete a 37½ hour a week, this includes early shifts, late shifts, long days, weekends and night shifts depending on where you are placed.

Please note: You are expected to work on placement during the whole seven day week period. Shift hours vary according to where you are based. In the first year you will not be allocated to work any night shifts. During years 2 and 3 you will work a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 20 night shifts. At the end of each module and a semester placement(s) students will be subject to summative assessment. The criteria that are applied are defined by the outcomes of the module and/or the practice expectations these include, and are plotted against, the requirements and expectations of the Nursing and Midwifery Council for the point of the programme.

Assessments in theory and practice include; project work, presentation, examination (written and practical), practice portfolios and essays. Upon successful completion of your course you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of places including community and hospital settings, education and research. With the increasing emphasis on nursing people in the community the opportunities are continuing to grow for nurses. There are numerous opportunities for continued professional development and progression to higher degree study.

Find out more about: "I was attracted to mental health nursing because of the values of personal self determination, respect for the individual and the ethical practice that it promotes. Although psychiatry has had its uses it has not always promoted mental health. Contemporary mental health nursing however does and it in this area I want to work after I qualify. This course is equally as demanding as it is rewarding, the more you put in the more you get out. I have learned so much about people and like myself and them so much more as a result." Peter is at the end of the second year of the programme.

Course modules

There are two 22 week semesters in every year of the programme. Each semester consists of 50% practice and 50% theory. Each year of the course has a title and follows a specific focus which is directly related to the kinds of skills and activities that the student will be expected to be learning during this year of the course. The focus is to develop core skills and knowledge on meeting the needs of patients and their family/carer(s) as well as promoting health and wellbeing Core themes include nursing issues; professional, legal and ethical issues; communication; life sciences and service provision. Building on the core knowledge and skills gained in year 1, the second year of the course focuses on the student s ability to develop skills and knowledge that enable the process of effective care delivery to meet specific health needs.  Content will support the student to focus on field specific knowledge and skills with a view to developing a critical approach to the evaluation of research evidence and practice. Emphasis will be placed on keeping the patient at the centre of care delivery by supporting them to make informed choices and promoting individual recovery and wellbeing. A range of interventions and approaches, that address a wide range of short, long and end-of-life health conditions and that are used by both nurses and other members of the wider health professional team, will be considered. The role of the registered nurse demands the development of leadership and management skills to help support and ensure safe and effective care delivery, within a variety of clinical settings and in conjunction with others. This includes developing skills and knowledge to promote a positive patient and carer experience through supporting changes in service delivery and developing the skill of critical enquiry. Consideration of research evidence and service improvement strategies contribute to the themes included in this year of study. Emphasis is placed upon the on-going need to maintain a contemporary knowledge and skills base through continued professional development, seeking supervision and peer review where necessary and contributing to the continuing development of the nursing profession.

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Nursing Practice 1 (including IPL: Working with Others) (Mandatory)
Nursing Theory 1 (Mandatory)
Nursing Theory 2 (Mandatory)
Nursing Practice 2 (including IPL: The Service User) (Mandatory)
Nursing Theory 3 (Mandatory)
Nursing Theory 4 (Mandatory)
Nursing Practice 3 (including IPL: The Professional in the Team) (Mandatory)
Nursing Theory 5 (Mandatory)
Dissertation (Mandatory)

Fees and finance

  • Full-time Tuition fee: £9,250 p.a.
  • International Tuition fee: £14,580 p.a. 

Further Information                                        

  • Detailed information about Tuition Fees
  • Find out more about Financial Support eligibility.
  • Also see Loans and Grants
  • At the University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. See Course Costs.

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements

2017 entry: 100 UCAS tariff points (or above), BCC (A-Level), MMM (BTEC).
2018 entry: 96 UCAS tariff points (or above), CCC (A-Level), MMM (BTEC).   


Access to Higher Education Diploma – a minimum of 30 Level 3 credits at merit grade or above.

Plus five GCSEs grade A-C including Mathematics and English (or equivalent) or new GCSE grades 4-9.

For applicants whose first language is not English, but who have been living in the UK for less than 2 years (or have not lived in the UK at all), we will accept IELTS or the University of Suffolk Password test as meeting the English requirement.

Applicants whose first language is not English, but who have been living in the UK for 2 years or more will be expected to hold GCSE English at Grade C or above (grade 4-9 for the new GCSE), or the relevant Level 2 equivalent (if applicable).

Also see How to Apply.

Non-Academic Requirements

Any offer of a place will be subject to: 

  • Successful interview
  • Satisfactory Health check
  • Satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
  • Two satisfactory references

As part of the selection process, you will be expected to demonstrate 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.

International Requirements

IELTS 7.0 is required where English is not the students' first language.

Also see International and EU.


Career Overview Heather began her career in nursing on a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit where she worked for over 5 years and gained experience of working with people who were acutely unwell, and during this period Heather also completed her BSc (Hons) in Nursing. ...

Lois qualified in 1993 at the University of Essex as a registered Mental Health nurse and has worked in acute psychiatry and day centres under mental health and substance misuse services, where she was involved in delivering therapeutic programmes.  During this time Lois completed...

Vickie qualified as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in 1997 after training at Redwood College of Nursing Studies in Harold Wood. After qualifying as a Staff Nurse, she worked at Warley hospital in Brentwood where she progressed to Deputy Ward manager on an Adult acute admissions wa...

Kevin studied in Ipswich and commenced his DipHe RMN in 1996, qualifying in September 1999.   He then worked locally in in-patient care services focusing particularly on acute mental health admissions and predominantly in psychiatric intensive care services (PICU).   During his...