A day as a mental health nurse

You work in the community, and spend the morning visiting people’s homes, helping them have a good quality of life and manage their mental health problems. You always involve families and other healthcare workers to make the best plans to care for someone, because you know it can involve talking treatments, medicines or lots of other different kinds of therapies, and everyone needs to work together and know what each other is doing.

You always encourage people to talk about how they feel, because you’re always aware that people need to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, and not feel guilty or ashamed if they have a mental health problem.

In the afternoon, you visit someone who needed to be admitted to hospital for a short time because they were very poorly. You talk to your fellow nurses who work on the wards looking after this person, discussing how you can all work together to enable them to continue their recovery at home with their family as soon as possible.

Does this sound like you?

You love working with people, and can remain calm as you try and help those who are upset or distressed. You're a great communicator and easily make people feel comfortable. You're mature and practical, and enjoy working as part of a team. You work well under pressure and can carry out many tasks at once without getting stressed.

What's next after GCSE?

You'll need to do a degree level qualification to be a nurse so will usually need a minimum of five GCSEs (typically including English language or literature and a science subject) at grades 5/4 (C) or above or equivalent level 2 qualification, then go on to take at least two A levels (eg including a subject like human biology, psychology or sociology) or equivalent level 3 qualification.

What's next after A level and beyond?

After A levels, you'll need to go to university to do an approved full-time degree in nursing or apply for a nursing degree apprenticeship. For their full-time degrees, some universities may ask for three A levels and have specific subject requirements, so make sure you check with the uni you're interested in directly. Nursing degree apprenticeships are available in some parts of the country and you'll usually need the same level of GCSEs and A levels or equivalent qualifications.