Mental Health Nursing (BN)

The Cardiff Bachelor of Nursing (BN) is an innovative and contemporary programme, redesigned for 2012 to meet the new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 2010 standards.

Mental Health Nursing students
Mental Health Nursing students

The Bachelor of Mental Health Nursing (BN) aims to prepare you for life as a confident and knowledgeable mental health nurse. By fully engaging with this degree, you will develop critical abilities, skills and competencies to deliver high quality nursing care in a rapidly changing environment.

Mental health nurses offer support with a variety of mental health conditions, working with individuals, families and carers. They may specialise in children and young people, older people or working age adults. Our course is designed to develop practitioners with the skills and knowledge to work in a dynamic health care environment. As a dedicated student, you will learn about promoting health, preventing illness and delivering high quality holistic care.

While you will specialise in mental health nursing from the start of the course, the integrated nature of teaching means you will learn with those studying children’s nursing and adult nursing. Sharing ideas between disciplines will broaden your perspective on health care, and help to sharpen your focus on your own field.

You will be taught by motivated and knowledgeable lecturers in the field of mental health nursing, and have opportunities to work in hospitals and homes.

Our aim is to produce mental health nurses who can work independently. We will nurture your ability to deliver a high standard of essential and complex care, using evidence based practice and modern technologies. You should grow confident in performing roles including practitioner, educator, leader and researcher, ultimately becoming a mental health nurse who is 'fit for purpose' and 'fit for practice'.

This degree will lead to eligibility to register with the NMC as a Mental Health Nurse. On qualification, you can work in a range of healthcare settings, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

During your application to the course you will be required to demonstrate that you meet the NMC good health and character, fitness to practise requirements. This will be achieved by providing a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate. All applicants will be required to have a satisfactory health screening prior to enrolment on this course, which is conducted independently by the University’s Occupational Health Department. Full guidance on this will be provided at application stage.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: We regret that this course is unable to accept applications from international fee-status applicants because of its association with the National Health Service (NHS) and the restrictions on funding and clinical placements.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the course include:

  • During year two, there is an opportunity to undertake a practice learning opportunity in a different environment, either within the UK or overseas. Practice learning opportunities will fulfil requirements and guidance as defined by the NMC (2010), and maintain your safety, enabling you to undertake a self-selected placement within a health or social care learning environment.
  • Highly-equipped skills laboratories in our Clinical Simulation Suite enable realistic ward, community, home and emergency simulations. Lifelike simulations mean you can safely practice and develop essential skills, developing your confidence and expertise.
  • The School provides pre-registration courses recognised by the UK Health and Care Professions Council in occupational therapy, operating department practice, physiotherapy, diagnostic radiography and imaging and radiotherapy and oncology. It also provides pre-registration courses in nursing and midwifery. This contributes to a vibrant interdisciplinary environment, with opportunities for shared learning and inter-professional education not available at many institutions.

I would recommend studying Mental Health Nursing at Cardiff University. I hope to work in areas such as acute mental health in-patient facilities, rehabilitation and the community.

Rebecca Farman, undergraduate student (Mental Health Nursing)

Key facts

UCAS CodeB760
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
AccreditationsNursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Typical places availableThe course typically has approximately 90 places available across both intakes.
Typical applications receivedThe course typically receives approximately 546 applications across both intakes.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

For detailed entry requirements see the School of Healthcare Sciences admissions criteria pages.

Typical A level offerBBB. No specified subjects.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above).
Typical International Baccalaureate offer28 points.
Other requirementsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

Our three year programme is comprised of six semesters. There are 40 weeks of scheduled activity, 50 % theory and 50% in clinical practice each year, which makes up 360 credits in total. The nursing programme prepares nurses to practice in the areas of Adult Nursing, Children’s Nursing, or Mental Health Nursing.  It meets the academic and professional regulations required for eligibility to register as a first level nurse on part 1 of the NMC professional register.

The proposed value based programme has been developed as a spiral curriculum based on a constructivist model with six key themes (informed by the NMC domains). The six themes are:

  • Public Health,
  • Fundamental Care,
  • Complex Care,
  • Professional Practice,
  • Leadership and Management and
  • Evidence Based Practice.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

There are four compulsory modules in year one and two clinical practice placements. The modules will either be delivered over one semester or two semesters each year.

Year two

There are five compulsory modules in year two and three clinical practice placements. The modules will either be delivered over one semester or two semesters each year.

Year three

There are four compulsory modules in year three and two clinical practice placements. The modules will either be delivered over one semester or two semesters each year. The last practice learning opportunity in the programme is 14 weeks, and this is where a sign off mentor will make a judgment about the students’ achievements of the required competencies for safe and effective entry to the NMC register.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The School of Healthcare Sciences is committed to developing nursing and midwifery knowledge which directly improves health outcomes and health care for patients. Top quality teaching relies on academic and clinical expertise of lecturers and visiting clinicians.

Lectures, tutorials, workshops, simulations, seminar style discussions, online discussions, presentations and specific group work will all feature as part of your degree.

Teaching and learning is based upon three main principles:

  • blended learning across the curriculum;
  • vibrant learning experiences to develop a culture of independent learning;
  • inter-professional learning which fosters team working and understanding between fields of practice.

While this course is field-specific from the start, you will still experience shared learning opportunities with students studying Children’s Nursing and Adult Nursing. This helps you place your specific field into the context of wider and more complex care. Shared learning is a particular feature of the course in years one and two, with year three predominantly field specific as you prepare to qualify within your chosen field.

Theory and practice are two key components of the course, fundamentally aligned throughout to encourage transferable flexible skills.  All 13 compulsory taught modules offer a flexible blended approach. Field specific content increases in year two and within year three there is one field specific module. 

Simulation scenarios for mental health students focus on developing interpersonal and communication skills. Supported and informed by theoretical learning, you will use skills in different clinical situations and develop confidence through digitally recorded sessions in our communication booths. This enables you and your fellow students to reflect on and review your skills.

How will I be supported?

You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor who will provide pastoral support and academic guidance throughout the programme. In addition you will be assigned an academic supervisor in year 3 of the programme who will support you in the development of your dissertation.

Our virtual learning environment is accessible via desktop and mobile devices, allowing you to access electronic resources from anywhere. Dedicated computer labs, student study rooms, campus-wide WiFi networks, printing facilities and a dedicated Healthcare library are available year-round. Staff are available onsite to assist students and provide support and advice.

The School of Healthcare Sciences has recently invested in new facilities and equipment, aiming to provide some of the best technology and modern facilities at your disposal.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres. You will be allocated a personal tutor at the start of the course, to provide support for pastoral issues, as well as the learning and assessment in clinical practice. 


We will provide you with feedback on your work in a variety of formats. These will include oral feedback during tutorials, feedback provided during lectures, written feedback provided through online module discussion forums, and electronic written feedback on assessed coursework through GradeMark. You will be provided with summary written feedback in relation to examinations and you can discuss your overall performance with your personal tutor.  During clinical placements you will be supported in your progress by mentors/clinical teachers who will provide verbal and written feedback on your clinical competency.

How will I be assessed?

Modules will be assessed using methods including written assignments, exams, presentations, case studies, dissertations, objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE), and a clinical portfolio.

Assessment of clinical practice will be undertaken by mentors through supervision, support and guided by the ‘All Wales’ practice learning outcomes’ within the ongoing record of achievement. The module assessment strategies conform to the University’s principles of assessment and are valid, reliable and explicit.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’.

You will develop a professional attitude towards communication and interpersonal skills, partnership working and responsibility for professional development. Specific skills should include the ability to collect, analyse and interpret a range of quantitative and qualitative data, and apply the evidence to nursing practice. You should also become skilled in working independently, problem solving and making informed decisions.

100% of students graduating from the BN Mental Health Nursing went on to work and/or further study six months after graduating (UNISTATS).

Mental Health nursing is a challenging and rewarding career choice, requiring intelligence and commitment, good people skills, compassion, humour, and lots of patience. Being able to make a real difference in people's lives has an intrinsic value few other professions can offer. On qualification, it is possible to work in a wide range of healthcare settings both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Mental Health nursing has excellent career prospects, with graduates going on to find employment with health boards and NHS Trusts, international health services and higher education institutions. Career destinations include, nurse, advanced nurse practitioner, health visitor, research nurse, ward manager, consultant nurse and lecturer.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

The places on this course are currently funded by the NHS in Wales. We have yet to receive confirmation from the Welsh Assembly Government about funding for this course for 2017/18 entry. For more information please see our NHS funding pages.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

An NHS placement is a required part of this course. The NHS only makes placements available to students who are eligible to pay UK/EU fees. Therefore, this course is not available for international students.

Additional costs

Applicants are required to meet the costs of obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate.

Applicants are advised that while you may be entitled to be reimbursed for some of the costs you incur whilst attending practice placements, you will be required to cover the initial costs for later reimbursement. This may include both accommodation and travel costs (if they are in excess of your normal daily travel costs to your University base).

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

You will not need any specific equipment.

Clinical practice opportunities provide the opportunity to learn in settings including the home, hospitals and the community, in public and private sectors. These allow you to build expertise and develop vital skills, supported by clinicians who ensure you can meet NMC requirements. In clinical practice you will be supported by a mentor.

The School of Healthcare Sciences works with a number of healthcare organisations to provide suitable clinical placements.

While in clinical practice you will be supported by a practicing nurse or health visitor, who will be able to advise, support and supervise you throughout your placement. Practice learning opportunities are vital to your learning experience, and our students value the solid grounding in clinical practice.

You will be given a 'Placement Line' at the beginning of each academic year, detailing the expected clinical areas to which you will be allocated. Ensuring you experience the full range of clinical experiences means that you can expect to work a variety of hours, from the traditional working week of Monday to Friday 9 to 5, to morning shifts which start between 7am and 8am in the morning, afternoon shifts which can finish as late as 9.30pm, night shifts and weekends.

Placements will be in hospitals, nursing homes and in the community across South East Wales - mainly situated from Barry in the West to Chepstow in the East, and from Cardiff in the South to Abergavenny to the North. This means that you should expect to travel to some placements during the course.

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.