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BSc (Honours) Mental Health Nursing

The BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing degree is a unique work-based learning route to qualification as a nurse. Available to students who are sponsored by their employers and working in healthcare practice, it addresses the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requirements for entry to the nursing professional register. You'll study the essential concepts underpinning healthcare practice and demonstrate your achievement of the required competencies in practice-based contexts.

You'll also gain wide-ranging transferable skills, including the ability to use information effectively. For example, you'll develop the critical skills you need to evaluate and apply evidence-based practice, and to analyse and understand healthcare practice from both person-centred and multidisciplinary perspectives. With the focus on person and family-centred care, you'll develop and demonstrate effective interpersonal skills that meet service users' rights to dignity and privacy in a compassionate and caring manner. You'll also explore the professional context of nursing and healthcare practice; promotion of healthy lifestyles; applied physiology across the life course; evidence-based practice; management and leadership; and service improvement.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q74 Made up of: 360 credits

To register for this degree, you must meet the entry requirements specified by the NMC for entry to pre-registration nurse education. We offer places on the programme following a selection process. You must be sponsored by your employer (you can't fund yourself on this programme) and working in healthcare practice in a caring role. All applicants will be invited to a face-to-face interview as required by the NMC.

The current NMC entry requirements include:

  • literacy (Key skills level 2 or equivalent e.g. GCSE Grade C or above in English)
  • numeracy (Key skills level 2 or equivalent e.g. GCSE Grade C or above in Maths)
  • good character evidenced through self-declaration, an enhanced criminal disclosure and two references, one of which must be from your current employer
  • good health evidenced through self-declaration of health status, occupational health screening, review of previous sickness and absence record and two references, one of which must be from your current employer.
Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

On graduating from the BSc (Honours) Mental Health Nursing, you'll be eligible to apply for entry to the NMC register. The learning outcomes for this degree course have been mapped to (and fully comply with) the NMC standards for pre-registration nursing programmes and to subject benchmarking statements for Nursing.

In addition to meeting the NMC competencies, the practice learning part of this degree develops skills that are highly valued in the labour market - including critical analysis, numeracy, literacy, communication, team working, problem solving/solution finding, ICT proficiency, leadership, management and innovation.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

The primary aim of this qualification is to develop and enhance the intellectual and practice skills needed to underpin your practice as an aspiring and autonomous registered nurse, ensuring that your skills are fit for practice and purpose. As you develop your graduate skills, we aim to support the development of your confidence to lead and deliver highly effective person-centred practices across a range of care settings, reflective of the multiple and diverse locations of service delivery.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree, you will have knowledge and understanding of the:

  • theories and evidence that underpin nursing as a profession including assessment, planning, practice and audit in order to deliver safe, effective and evidence-based care which is compassionate and person-centred
  • biological, social and behavioural sciences to inform and underpin nursing practice
  • concepts of health and well-being, public health and health promotion needed to meet the needs of individuals and communities
  • value of interdisciplinary collaboration and inter-agency working across a range of health and social services and providers
  • practice that accords with legal, ethical, moral and professional frameworks and respects culture and diversity
  • use of research and other sources of evidence in critiquing care, delivery and evaluation
  • principles and practice underpinning competence in leadership, management, including management of change, teaching and innovation.

Cognitive skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • analyse the values held by members of the multi-professional team and their impact on the relationships with service users, carers and other professionals/practitioners
  • critically examine the underpinning disciplines of biology, psychology, sociology, pharmacology and their application to nursing practice across the lifespan and health-illness continuum
  • synthesise and challenge information, research findings and evidence to inform strategies that promote health, recovery or a peaceful death and inform the delivery of compassionate, person-centred nursing care
  • critically analyse nursing care needs and develop innovative, collaborative solutions which enable safe and effective person- and family-centred care
  • evaluate risk management strategies that promote a safe and therapeutic environment
  • critically evaluate a range of leadership and management styles to develop strategies for promoting and sustaining practice innovation and practice improvement
  • effectively utilise models of reflection to support the development of inter-personal skills and competence, and to challenge and improve the performance of self and others in the delivery of healthcare practices.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate competence in professional judgement in managing yourself and others in accordance with professional, ethical, moral and legal frameworks to ensure that the primacy of the service user, carer and community is maintained
  • manage and take the initiative for planning to meet your own development needs and facilitate the development of others
  • sensitively develop, deliver and document care across the lifespan to promote optimal health, appropriate rehabilitation or a peaceful death
  • develop individualised and appropriate therapeutic relationships with service users, carers and communities that promote and enable involvement throughout healthcare processes and proactively encourage partnership working and collaboration across professional groups and service boundaries
  • utilise information technology to assist in the organisation and management of nursing care, inter-professional service delivery and inter-agency working including using data accurately in complex contexts
  • confidently lead comprehensive and systematic assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of person-centred nursing care
  • create and maintain safe environments of care through critical evaluation, raising concerns where appropriate, monitoring and assuring quality and effectively utilising risk management strategies
  • facilitate the learning of service users, carers and others so they are empowered to take control of their health, illness or end-of-life care
  • promote and sustain innovation in practice through effective leadership and change management.

Key skills

On completion of this degree, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate analytical thinking in the selection and utilisation of appropriate skills of enquiry including the synthesis of ideas and the ability to challenge accepted wisdom
  • independently plan, monitor, evaluate and improve your own learning and performance
  • contribute to social cohesion in teams, communicating clearly across differing settings and sectors to reduce conflict and inform and develop practice
  • develop and optimise the achievement of personal improvement, professional maturity, resourcefulness and imagination to enhance creative problem solving
  • use information literacy, technology tools and numeracy skills as appropriate to find, critically evaluate, process, present and communicate information.

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