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‘Never been a better time to become a mental health nurse’ say course leaders


All students guaranteed bursary of between £5,000 and £8,000 a year -  and graduates have ‘pick of jobs’

If you’re looking for a career change and are interested in helping people, right now could be one of the best times to consider becoming a mental health nurse.

The government is currently guaranteeing all nursing and allied health students an annual bursary of at least £5,000 but mental health nurse students could get up to £8,000, with additional grants for childcare.

Nurse lecturer Natalie Finch, from the University of Bradford’s Faculty of Health Studies​, said due to a national shortage of mental health nurses, graduates were virtually guaranteed a job.

“There’s a national shortage of mental health nurses. Every single one of our graduates who wants a job, gets one on graduation. They have the pick of the market, often being able to choose between three, four and five offers. Employers are fighting for candidates.

“The Bradford District Care Foundation Trust has asked us to train more mental health nurses. For anyone considering a career change, it’s a wonderfully rewarding profession with many career paths and opportunities for progression in hospitals, the community, and specialist settings.

“Some people might not have considered going back into education as a choice. Generally mental health nurses tend to be people who have some life experience. We definitely want young people but also people who want a career change.

“Mental health nurses need to be motivated to make a real difference in the lives of people they work with, enjoy building relationships and working in an environment where no two days are the same. If this sounds like you, nursing may be an excellent career choice, even if you have never considered it before.”

Natalie, who graduated from Bradford and spent six years as a mental health nurse before becoming a lecturer, said the coronavirus pandemic had only heightened the need for mental health nurses, adding: “We know people’s mental health deteriorates when they lose their support structures. There’s real uncertainty at the moment, as many people are working from home and home schooling, some will be worried about their jobs, while children have lost their routines. The repercussions from Covid19 will be felt for many years to come, so now is the perfect time to consider this as a career.”

The Government has outlined its funding pledge for mental health nurses as part of a plan to boost nurse numbers by 50,000 over the next five years.

Ruth Girdham, Head of School of Nursing & Healthcare ​Leadership, said: “​Mental health is as important as physical health. Working as a mental health nurse is an interesting, varied and rewarding career.”

Keen to find out more? Register for the University’s 2020 ‘Virtual’ Open Day on Saturday June 20. Natalie will be available all day on Saturday via the peer-to-peer Unibuddy platform to chat with attendees and answer questions and there will be a bespoke ‘Nursing’ presentation at 1.20pm.

For an informal chat about the course, contact Natalie via email:

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