New mental health nursing framework launched in England

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

A new framework has been launched for people looking to train as a mental health nurse in England.

It comes in response to an increased demand across the country for psychiatric support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and hopes to encourage talent to both enter and stay in the field.

Created by Health Education England (HEE), in collaboration with Skills for Health and mental health nurses across the country, the Mental Health Nursing Competence and Career Framework lays out the skills needed to train and make an impact at all seniority levels of mental health nursing.

The report highlights several areas of practice in which a nurse can become involved, from perinatal mental health and older people, to eating disorders and addiction.

"Mental health nursing is a demanding but rewarding career choice, occupying a unique space in holistic patient care at the forefront of healthcare service delivery," says Professor Mark Radford, Chief Nurse for HEE, in the report's foreword.

"Across the board, we have seen the passion, commitment and potential in our mental health nursing workforce, and the vital contribution mental health nurses make to the delivery of care is now getting the recognition it deserves."

The 'uniqueness' of mental health nursing is elaborated on throughout the report through testimonials from nurses.

“Mental health nursing must be one of the few professions which really values your uniqueness as an individual – if you are curious, dynamic, and interested by the complexities of the human mind, love talking to and helping people, are a listener and a thinker then it allows you a scope of development and growth of self," says one nurse.

Another stated, “Mental health nursing is unique in that it has a holistic approach in treating the whole person and understanding their personal narratives using therapeutic skills to dig deeper."

Read more: NHS mental health services 'consistently poor', regulator finds

The new framework emerges at the same time as a scathing report into patient experiences of NHS mental health services.

According to the Care Quality Commission, which acts as the health and social care regulator for the UK, NHS mental health services provide a 'consistently poor' experience to those in need of support.

Surveying 17,601 people, the report highlights various issues with service access, waiting times, communication and patient involvement.

To read the full Mental Health Nursing Competence and Career Framework, click here.

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