Mental Health Nursing

Join Scotland’s only undergraduate Honours-level nursing degree with a sole focus on mental health.

Course detail

Start Date



3 years (full-time)

Award Title

BSc (Hons)



Why study Abertay's BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Nursing?

Join Scotland’s only undergraduate honours-level nursing programme with a sole focus on mental health. This degree is grounded in a commitment to recovery as a guiding principle, with a strong focus on the delivery of research-informed, person-centred care.

This course scored an impressive 90% for Overall Student Satisfaction in the 2020 National Student Survey

This three-year Mental Health Nursing degree will provide you with a thought-provoking and contemporary study programme, carefully crafted to equip you with the knowledge, skills and experience you need to practice as a mental health nurse.

You can graduate with an honours degree after only three years as you explore a fascinating range of topics, including physical health and wellbeing, anatomy, physiology and human biology, as you take a journey to become a reflective, self-aware and person-centred practitioner.

Throughout your degree, you’ll enjoy a consistently high level of support from a team of tutors and lecturers from a variety of clinical backgrounds, some of whom continue to work in practice. This is complemented by practitioners and colleagues from counselling and nursing.

This degree is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and leads to registration as a Mental Health Nurse. 

Abertay is widely regarded as THE place to come for high quality teaching. But don't take our word for it:

  • Sunday Times UK University of the Year 2020 for Teaching Quality.
  • Guardian University Guide 2020 Top 10 in the UK for Student Satisfaction with TeachingCourse and Feedback.
  • National Student Survey 2020 Top 10 UK Universities for Student Satisfaction.

Always-On Online Open Day

We aim to immerse you in student life here at Abertay and give you a true feel for our courses and our amazing academic community.

Experience our Always-On Open Day anytime for a mix of:

  • Subject and course presentations and videos.

  • Campus tours, info on applying, funding, student support and accommodation.

  • What the city of Dundee is like to live in.

Take time to soak it all in.



An Abertay Student on a yellow coloured background

How the Course Works

The BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing programme runs over the whole year. This means there's an additional summer term at the end of Year 2 and Year 3. You'll still have time off in the summer, but your break will be shorter than for a standard university degree. However, you'll graduate with an Honours degree in three years instead of four, so you'll be joining the workplace (and earning) faster. 

Learning and Assessment 

You’ll be taught by an enthusiastic and committed team of teachers, researchers and practitioners with extensive experience, and you’ll learn through a combination of lectures, practical classes, tutorials, independent study and online learning.

This is combined with clinical practice placements with NHS Tayside or NHS Fife, which provide valuable experience and the opportunity to put theory into practice through a process of mentoring, and the development of an ongoing achievement record.

Mental health nursing skills are developed through small group work, interactive, and reflective practice. In addition, you’ll benefit from the use of our interpersonal skills and clinical skills training suites.

Assessment types are varied to test a breadth of skills. This includes reports, reflective portfolios, essays, presentations – both oral and posters – appraisal of research, exams, class tests and case studies.

Performance on practice is assessed via placement reports.

Entry Requirements

Please note: All applicants must attend for interview and, if successful, must undergo health screening and criminal records checks. Enrolled students are required to make an annual declaration of good health and good character. The University must affirm this declaration before registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is possible.

English and Maths

All applicants must have passes in English in one of the following: National 5 C and GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent.  National 5 ESOL is accepted in lieu of National 5 English.

Where English is not the first language, applicants require IELTS at 7.0 (with no band less than 7.0) or equivalent.

All applicants must have passes in Maths/Lifeskills Maths in one of the following: National 5 C and GCSE grade C/4 or equivalent.

Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.

Republic of Ireland applicants, click on the UK tabs and scroll down to find your Entry Requirements.

See information about studying and applying to Abertay for International students.

Qualification Type Grade Requirements Essential Subjects
Higher (standard entry) ABBB
Higher (minimum entry) We may make you an offer at the minimum entry grades if you meet the criteria. Find out if you're eligible for minimum entry (see below). BBC
A-Level BCC
Irish Highers H2H3H3H3
International Baccalaureate 29 Points
BTEC Extended Diploma DMM Applied Science, Health & Social Care
SWAP Access ABB Access to: Nursing, Humanities & Primary Education, Life
HNC/HND Please visit our Entry from College pages for suitable College courses.

Not sure if you're eligible for entry?

If you have the potential and motivation to study at university, regardless of your background or personal circumstances, we welcome your application.

We understand some people have faced extra challenges before applying to university, which is why we consider the background in which your academic grades have been achieved when making an offer.

If you expect to receive passes in three Scottish Highers (grades A-C) and have either ...

  • been in care
  • participated in a targeted aspiration-raising programme such as LIFT OFF, LEAPS, FOCUS West, or Aspire North
  • no family background of going to university
  • attended a school or lived in an area where not many people go to university

... we encourage you to submit an application.

Why our course is different

Mental health is a relatively new topic. Every day, every year, there's more and more research and more understanding of the various mental health conditions, and how it effects patients.

Student placements begin in the first term of year one, so you will be out on placement and start learning on the job right away. 50% of learning happens in the university, and 50% happens in practice.  That's a big difference right from the very start.

About Your Modules

All modules shown are indicative and reflect course content for the current academic year. Modules are reviewed annually and may be subject to change. If you receive an offer to study with us we will send you a Programme document  that sets out exactly which modules you can expect to take as part of your Abertay University degree programme. Please see Terms and Conditions for more information.


Year 1 Core Modules

You must study and pass all six core modules

Brief description

An introduction to the concepts of professional practice, personal development and collaborative working, as well as the foundational capacities, skills and concepts required for entry into mental health nursing practice. It incorporates your first placement experience and provides the forum for practice supervision and reflective engagement within the profession of mental health nursing.

Indicative content:

  • Role of the student: The Practice learning experience and NMC standards for education and practice learning, Practice Assessment Document (PAD), role of supervisors and assessors. Personal learning needs. Supernumerary status.
  • Professionalism: The role and function of the NMC Code, NMC Standards for registration, revalidation, fitness to practice and fitness to study, occupational health. The reflective practitioner, and aim and format of Professional Development groups.
  • Skills and Knowledge: Core skills in physical care, monitoring of health and wellbeing, documentation used in practice. Role of the therapeutic relationship, and team-working. Annex B skills covered: 2.15, 2.16, 3.4, 4.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 9.6, 9.7, 9.8.
  • Mandatory training: Manual Handling, Infection control/hand hygiene/skin surveillance, Personal safety, Basic life support.
  • Practice learning Experience 1: Practice learning under supervision.

Brief description

The relationship between physical and mental health, and the role of the mental health nurse in promoting health and wellbeing and preventing ill-health across the lifespan.

Indicative content:

  • Determinants of Health: Social, biological, genetic, economic and psychological influences on health.
  • Promoting health and wellbeing: Health behaviour change: trans-theoretical model, health belief model. Mediating factors in behaviour change, for example, social and recovery capital, relapse management. Contribution of social influences, early years experiences on behaviours and lifestyle choices.
  • Principles of protection of health and prevention of ill health: Impact of smoking, obesity, alcohol management, substance misuse, sexual behaviours, diet and exercise on mental, physical and behavioural health and wellbeing. Principles of pathogenesis, immunology, infection control and prevention.
  • Key interventions linked to Health protection and prevention of ill health: Strength-based approaches to support and enable people to make informed choices about their care and to manage health challenges. Approaches to behaviour change. Communicable disease surveillance and antimicrobial stewardship and resistance.

Brief description

Core skills, knowledge and values that underpin contemporary mental health nursing, and recognises that mental health nurses need to be able to apply these to people at any stage of life.

Indicative content:

  • Mental Health Across the lifespan: Childhood experiences and how this may impact on life choices, mental, physical and behavioural health and wellbeing. Transitions in healthcare and the impact of these on different generations. Range of services available for a variety of conditions (at all stages of life) and referral processes.
  • Models of mental health: Biological, psychological, and social impacts on mental health. The interaction between physical and mental health across the lifespan.
  • Health policy and legislation: Health legislation, including mental capacity, and policies that underpin the care delivery in mental health.
  • Supporting people with mental health problems: Relational techniques and communication skills.

Brief description

Build on the concepts of professional practice, personal development and collaborative working introduced in MHN111. Develop your foundational capacities, skills and concepts required for mental health nursing practice. It incorporates your second and third placement experience and provides the forum for practice supervision and reflective engagement within the profession of mental health nursing

Indicative content:

  • Role of the student: Reflective practitioner models, impact of self on others and interactions such as giving and receiving feedback. Managing stress, and challenging work-based and interpersonal relationships and an awareness of strategies that can assist with this.
  • Working Safely: Reporting sickness and absence. Continue working in an evidence based way to promote patient safety. Understanding accountability. Quality improvement and patient safety.
  • Skills and Knowledge: Core skills in physical care, monitoring of health and wellbeing, documentation used in practice e.g. medicines management, care-planning and risk assessment. Role of the therapeutic relationship, and team-working. Annex B skills covered specifically : 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.5, 2.14, 2.15, 2.16, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 6.2, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 9.9.

Brief description

Understand the role of physiology and biological systems, how pharmaceutical interventions can impact on these, and how this links to health and well-being. It will provide sufficient knowledge and understanding for you to recognise the responsiveness of physical function to pharmacological and medical interventions.

Indicative content:

  • Anatomy of the human body and body systems: Description of the body, its components and systems; skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine, digestive, urinary, integumentary and reproductive systems.
  • Body and function: An outline of the functions of the systems, components organs and their functions. Development of the body from conception to old age.
  • Basic biological processes: Cell structure and function, function of genes, enzymes, vitamins, neurotransmitters, biology of life and reproduction, homeostasis.
  • Basic pharmacology: Introduction to composition, effects and uses of drugs, particularly pharmacokinetics – how the body processes drugs and pharmacodynamics- how drugs affect the body.

Brief description

To conceptualise health and well-being in terms of actions and activities pertinent to entering the future workforce. The purpose of the module is to ensure you are able to progress into the profession with a good knowledge of personal well-being, and use your active learning experience to understand how to sustain healthy living behaviours.

Indicative content:

  • Public health challenges impacting on well-being: Disease, diet and exercise, work-based stress, depression and anxiety, common physical conditions and long-term health conditions.
  • Interventions: Activities and interventions which address individual needs in terms of maintaining health and well-being, e.g. behaviour change, drivers and barriers to change, personal coaching. 
  • Behaviour change: Motivational interviewing, Cycle of change, personal problem-solving and enhancing empowerment and action on an individual, group, and societal level.

Year 2 Core Modules

You must study and pass all nine core modules

Brief description

To provide you with a facilitated environment to develop your capacity to work within mental health nursing in a skilled, professionally and ethically sound manner, and conceptualise yourself within the professional context as both students and as active agents.

Indicative content:

  • Professionalism​: Developing an understanding of the self as a Mental Heath Nurse in work, academia and on-line: Assimilating concepts of professionalism, what does it entail, why is it important and how is it assessed and relating this to the Code (NMC 2015).  Reflection and self-awareness as a tool for improving personal practice and service delivery, and in developing resilience and the ability to locate and utilise support.
  • Skills and Knowledge​: Professional practice skills including: Personal care, measuring and interpreting blood pressure, pulse, temperature  and respirations. Assisting with eating and drinking. Assessing need and recognising change . Understanding care plans, prescription charts, handover and team meetings. Writing professional notes, understanding confidentiality and its limits. Developing a helping relationship. Understanding the roles of others in the MDT. Annex B skills covered specifically : 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.9, 2.10, 3.1, 4.8, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, 5.9, 10.1.
  • Working safely: Incident report forms. Health and safety checklist. Risk assessment and risk management . Raising concerns, using QMPLE, manual handling and personal safety. Taking care of self.  Working in an evidence-based way to promote patient safety. Understanding accountability. Quality improvement and patient safety.
  • Practice learning Experience 4​: Practice learning under supervision.

Brief description

Understand the impact of life-experiences, including psychological, biological, developmental and societal, on mental health and wellbeing. It focuses on case formulation primarily with biomedical and biopsychosocial models of mental illness to understand how mental health can be affected at different stages of life.

Indicative content:

  • Impact of early life experiences: Childhood experiences and how these may impact on life choices, mental, physical and behavioural health and wellbeing. Working with families and carers in young person services including assessment of needs, risk, and the monitoring and evaluation of care delivery.
  • Demographics of health​: Demographics, genomics and the wider determinants of mental health, illness and wellbeing, including health policies, for people in each age bracket.
  • Services and support: Evaluation of the range of services available for people in each age bracket and referring people safely to an appropriate service and the implications of this to interprofessional working. The role of the family and carers.
  • Dying well​: The evidence base for person-centred nursing care at end of life, including palliative care, and care of families, the deceased and the bereaved.

Brief description

Explore interventions used in health care, providing you with a good working knowledge of the key strategies for responding to service-user and societal needs, and the understanding you need to recognise and work with different interventions in a range of contexts. This module provides knowledge of what interventions are used in health and mental health settings and services. It focuses on decision-making and the application of medical, pharmacological, psychological and behavioural interventions.

Indicative content:

  • Challenges to health and well-being:​ The responsibility of the state and the individual. High risk and vulnerable groups including responses to critical, chronic, and enduring mental health problems.
  • Models of working: Health promotion, health education, screening and treatment. The role of primary, secondary and tertiary services. Competing philosophical positions - recovery and cure, biological, psychological and social accounts of mental distress. Pluralism as a way of addressing competing positions.
  • Examining the evidence base - interventions for common problems: Identifying, locating and evaluating evidence for interventions for mental health problems, self-harm and suicide, anxiety, depression, psychosis, influencing lifestyle choice, recognising deterioration.
  • Role function and philosophy of mental health nursing:​ Self-help, self-management and specialist approaches. Collaboration, partnership, involvement and person-centred care, power, custodialism, restrictive practice and detention.
  • Deployment of interventions: The practice of common intervention methods, including psychological therapies (e.g. CBT, MI, Psychotherapy), including effective communication to service users, collaboration, and choice within person-centred nursing.

Brief description

To provide you with the relevant preparation and practice experience to enable you to develop the skills and professional behaviours required to enter the NMC register as a RMN.

Indicative content:

  • Ethical and Legal frameworks: Use of assessment and treatment sections of the mental health act, administration of medication, concepts of consent.
  • Evidence-based practice​: Effective use of research and evidence-based practice underpinning a range of clinical skills including injection techniques, medication administration; care planning.
  • Implementation of nursing care​: Application of a range of clinical and practice skills, personalised care planning; risk assessment; promoting physical and mental well being. Annex B skills covered in simulation: 2.6, 2.7, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 11.6, 11.7, 11.8, 11.9, 11.10, 11.11.
  • Practice learning Experience 5: Practice learning under supervision.

Brief description

Understand and apply the principles of safe and effective administration and optimisation of medicines management and understand and respond to common mental, physical, behavioural and cognitive health conditions applying evidence from research that informs and develops best nursing practice.

Indicative content:

  • Nurse prescribing​: Nurse prescribing and the V100/150 competencies.
  • Policies and legalities of prescribing: Local and national policies in relation to safe and effective medication admin. Drug calculations. Licensing and monitoring. Common mental, physical, cognitive and behavioural health conditions.
  • Pharmacological interventions: Pharmaceutical interventions, side effects, contra indications, prescribing errors, poly-pharmacology, over the counter medications.
  • Role function and philosophy of mental health nursing:​ Self-help, self-management and specialist approaches. Collaboration, partnership, involvement and person-centred care, power, custodialism, restrictive practice and detention.
  • Deployment of interventions: Understand the application of common intervention methods, including alternatives and adjuncts to pharmacology, e.g. psychological therapies ,  effective communication to service users, collaboration, and choice within person-centred nursing.

Brief description

Understand the broader public health context of your professional role, abling you to work effectively with the public health agenda.

Indicative content:

  • Policy: Health policy, resource allocation, health outcomes, cost-effectiveness and models of care provision in Scotland and beyond.  Health economics and the political context of health care.
  • Determinants of health:​ Salutogenesis, influences on health and well-being including the social and structural determinants of health. Epidemiology, demography, genomics and the wider determinants of health, illness and wellbeing in a global context. The role of the state, the health and social care provider and the individual.
  • Public health priorities in mental health: Examining the evidence base for public health issues and how priorities are addressed e.g. suicidality and self-harm, smoking cessation, weight management, substance use and addictions, sexual health and screening.
  • Health promotion and people with complex needs across the lifespan:​ Models of health promotion. Principles of pathogenesis, immunology and the evidence base for immunisation, vaccination and herd immunity. Early intervention, working with people with co-morbidity. Health promotion across the lifespan – neonatal to end of life.

Brief description

Gain the relevant preparation and practice experience to enable you to develop the skills and professional behaviours required to enter the NMC register as a RMN.

Indicative content:

  • Assessments and care-planning:​ Demonstrate and apply knowledge of body systems and homeostasis, human anatomy and physiology, biology, genomics, pharmacology and social and behaviour sciences when undertaking full and accurate person-centred nursing assessments and developing appropriate care plans.
  • Co-morbidities and prioritisation:​ Demonstrate an understanding of co-morbidities and the demands of meeting people's complex nursing and social care needs when prioritising care plans.
  • Implementation of nursing care:​ Demonstrate the knowledge, skills and ability to act as a role model for others in providing evidence-based, person-centred nursing care to meet people's needs. Annex B skills covered in simulation: 2.11, 2.12, 2.13, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 7.1.
  • Practice learning Experience 6:​​ Practice learning under supervision.

Brief description

Develop an understanding of the role of psychosocial interventions within mental health nursing. You will be encouraged to develop skills in adopting talking therapies within nursing practice, and to explore the ethical, professional and personal issues around providing psychosocial interventions as an adjunct to other interventions.

Indicative content:

  • Psychological and talking therapies​:​ The nature of psychosocial interventions and how they align to nursing philosophies; using a talking therapies approach in Mental Health Nursing; examining the evidence base for psychosocial interventions; ethical considerations; the nurse as an agent of therapy; understanding barriers to successfully working psychosocially and collaboratively with service-users.
  • Practice skills in talking therapies​:​ Simulated practice sessions utilising skills in a range of approaches e.g. CBT, MI, Systems/family therapies, working in collaborative relationships in mental health contexts, understanding when and why interventions are used, and skills in applying interventions.

Brief description

Learn the skills to assess and support mental health and wellbeing when the person has additional comorbidities and/or complex care needs.

Indicative content:

  • Complex care needs in practice:​ The challenges of providing safe, effective and person-centred nursing care for people who have co-morbidities and complex care needs.  Evaluating the complexities of providing mental, cognitive, behavioural and physical care services across a wide range of integrated care settings.
  • Care planning and monitoring: Understand how to monitor and critically evaluate the quality of people's experience of complex care. Understanding the difference between risk management and risk aversion.
  • Individuals, Families and Carers: Understand the principles and processes involved in supporting people and families with a range of care needs to maintain optimal independence and avoid unnecessary interventions and disruptions to their lives.
  • Decision-making, health legislation, end of life, and capacity: Demonstrate foundation knowledge of health legislation, including mental capacity, and policies that underpin the care delivery in complex mental health needs.  Identifying and assess the needs of people and families for care at the end of life, working in partnership with people, families and carers to continuously monitor, evaluate and reassess the effectiveness of all agreed nursing care plans and care, sharing decision-making and re-adjusting agreed goals, documenting progress and decisions made.

Year 3 Core Modules

You must study and pass all nine core modules

Brief description

Develop further professional skills for nursing practice through the application into practice of theoretical concepts. Build on your capacity to work autonomously with appropriate decision-making, ethical working and an opportunity to develop your own functioning within a person-centred, values-based approach.

Indicative content:

  • Awareness of professional role: The demands of professional practice including how to recognise signs of vulnerability in themselves or their colleagues, how to respond to these signs in a measured and professional manner. Role of self within the wider MDT, identity, power relations and systemic approaches to working in teams. Reflection on learning competence and capacity, and identification of practice skills needs.
  • Decision-making: Recognising decision-making and collaborative opportunities. Understanding the contextual factors which feed in to decision-making, and how this impacts on service-users and service providers.
  • Essential nursing skills:​ Demonstrate the knowledge, skills and ability to engage in digital technologies and eHealth. Annex B skills covered in simulation: 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.17, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6.
  • Practice learning Experience 7: Practice learning under supervision.

Brief description

Enhance your understanding of the importance of effective communication in order to deliver evidence-based effective mental health care and support. Explore the fundamental elements of communication in mental health service environments. It incorporates the range and function of communication modalities and establishes the capacity for choice of communication methods in professional working in mental health nursing.

Indicative content:

  • Relational communication: Communication with an individual; in groups, teams and organisations; strategies for effective communication; collaborative practice; how positive working environments may be created; person-centred decision-making process; accessibility issues and communication; referral to appropriate services.
  • Legal and Ethical Issues: Policy; best practice guidance;  NMC Code of Conduct; professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives; confidentiality; legal, regulatory and governance requirements. Challenging discriminatory behaviour; transparency and the professional duty of candour; recognising and reporting any situations behaviours or errors that could result in poor care outcomes.
  • Communication needs of people with mental health and complex needs across the lifespan: Effective communication with people with a mental health needs and other relevant stakeholders verbally, non-verbally and through the use of written communication and multi-media channels.
  • Psychosocial interventions and strategies: Talking therapies and evaluating deployment and efficacy; maintaining professional and personal boundaries while working with psychological theories; understanding and working effectively with communication difficulties and sensory impairment.

Brief description

Gain insights into complex collaboration and team working, and an opportunity to link theory with practical applications within community-based practice. Put theory into practice within multidisciplinary, community-based settings in order to inform best practice.

Indicative content:

  • Introduction to community working:​ Health and social care integration. Joint Boards and locality commissioning. Definitions of community; models of community work practices; brief historical overview/influences leading to current community work practices.
  • Partnership and multidisciplinary working:​ Effective team working; promoting partnerships; working with others recognising their different roles, skills and possible different value bases across various community-based settings; communication skills; working with families and carers.
  • Assessment of need:​ Introduction to theory and applied practices within community-based services; principles of good practice; critical appraisal and evaluation of need; community profiling and health needs assessment.
  • Inclusive framework for health in the community:​ Social and medical models of health; policy context of health and social care.
  • Mixed economy of care:​ Different approaches to organising welfare and health systems. Focus on the input of third sector and voluntary organisations into the mixed economy of care.

Brief description

Consolidate professional skills for nursing practice through the application into practice of theoretical concepts. Work autonomously with appropriate decision-making, ethical working and an opportunity to develop your own functioning within a person-centred, values-based approach.

Indicative content:

  • Patient safety: Holistic assessment; risk assessment; responding to deterioration in physical/mental health including dehydration and malnutrition; clear record keeping; communication within MDT; referring to other professionals; lone worker policy; maintain safety of self, staff and patients; stress management; emotional work; infection control; safe disposal of medical equipment; medicine administration and management; support and monitoring of nutrition and fluid intake; reporting drug errors.
  • Effective practice: Apply evidence-based interventions; holistic assessment; collaborative care planning; process and outcome evaluation of interventions; positive risk taking; health promotion; brief interventions; motivational interviewing; use of MUST and other assessment of nutritional status.
  • Legislative frameworks and ethical practice:​ Equalities legislation; Mental Health Act; Human Rights; local policies; maintaining dignity; protecting patient rights; advocacy; advance statements; child protection; protection of vulnerable adults; whistle blowing; limitations of confidentiality; consent; data protection; patient autonomy; capacity and consent.
  • Interpersonal skills:​ Recognising barriers to effective relationships; negotiating conflict; boundaries; challenges of collaborative working; counselling skills; impact of own subjectivity on interpersonal relationships; emotional intelligence. Dealing with complaints and concerns.
  • Leadership and management:​ Managing the team and organising care and care delivery. Effective time management; contribution to developments within the team; consultation and change; teaching others; supporting and mentoring; leading activities; prioritisation; autonomous and collaborative decision making. Responding to and managing the unexpected.
  • Practice learning Experience 7:​ Practice learning under supervision.

Brief description

Apply theory to practice within a multi-disciplinary, interagency and collaborative service community to inform best practice outcomes for people across the lifespan with complex mental health needs. You will explore the fundamental requirement of working in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders and services when providing mental health care and support.

Indicative content:

  • Collaborative working practices:​ Theories of organisations and organisational management; recognition of and assessment of people at risk of harm; the need for prompt action regarding safeguarding of vulnerable people; coordination of the processes and procedures involved in routine planning and management of safe discharge home or transfer of people between care settings and other support transitions; fundamental requirements for inter-professional practice and integrated services within health, social care and education services; communication strategies and their relationship to the establishment of effective, trusting and respectful relationships with colleagues and service users and to the achievement of safe, high-quality outcomes in practice.
  • Recognising and managing challenges: The relationship between safe staffing levels, appropriate skills mix, safety and quality for care; recognising risks to public protection and quality of care; escalating concerns appropriately; self-awareness to inform personal and professional development; communication issues; Equality and diversity perspectives; professionalism and accountability; safeguarding.
  • Informed Decision-making:​ Assessment of a person's capacity to make decisions about their own care and to give or withhold consent; legal issues around capacity and consent in multiagency or multi-disciplinary contexts.
  • Evidence-based practice:​ Principles of professional practice in relation to service users, diverse populations and communities; strategies to locate and describe key policy documents, national and international directives and evidence; critical appraisal and discussion of research evidence.

Brief description

Analyse the effect of legislation, policy, best practice guidelines and research which informs person-centred and relationship-centred care. How this can be applied to practice and the evaluation of these applications will be explored to ensure the voice of the service user is heard.

Indicative content:

  • Communication: Role modelling for others in providing high quality nursing interventions to meet people's needs; therapeutic relationships and concordance; effective team working; interagency working; working in collaboration.
  • Developing, managing and maintaining effective relationships: Enablers and barriers to access to healthcare for people who are vulnerable or have a disability; acting as an advocate; safeguarding and consent; identifying and assessing the needs of people and families for care at all stages of life including requirements for palliative care and decision-making related to their treatment and care preferences; working in collaboration.
  • Evidence-based practice: Prioritisation of what is important to people and their families; provision of evidence-based person-centred and relationship centred nursing care; critical analysis and appraisal of evidence; person-centred and relationship centred models, frameworks, theories and values and research; safety; holistic approaches to mental health support.
  • Quality improvement: Health care systems and complexity; managing risk; empowerment and positive risk-taking; audits and evaluation of services; opportunities to improve services; reflective practitioner.

Brief description

Consolidate professional skills for nursing practice through the application into practice of theoretical concepts. Build on your capacity to work autonomously with appropriate decision-making, ethical working and an opportunity to develop your own functioning within a person-centred, values-based approach.

Indicative content:

  • Professionalism:​ Aligning and identifying with the profession; practicing holistically as a RMN in practice and in other spheres; transition to NQP, flying start, registration.
  • Leadership: Recognising opportunities for leadership; responsibilities for enabling service users, families and carers, advocacy and change agency.  Becoming a role model, mentoring and guiding others, practice teaching, supervision and assessment of others in practice.
  • Personal development:​ Articulation of personal professional stance in terms of mental health nursing; being able to work effectively with a difference whether political, ethical, or moral.  Commitment to the pursuit of excellence and how this translates individually.
  • Practice learning Experience 8:​ Practice learning under supervision.

Brief description

Develop the knowledge and skill to work with others in leadership roles, and understand the dynamics of leadership in healthcare. Learn how to work within leadership roles either formally or informally, to take responsibility for your own and others' actions, and have the capacity to assimilate a range of information from different sources to guide and make appropriate decisions in professional contexts.

Indicative content:

  • Leadership and Management: Exploration of the similarities and differences between leadership and management, the effectiveness of difference structures and contexts on the effectiveness of leadership and followership in the NHS and healthcare contexts.
  • Theories of Leadership and their evidence base: Theory and applications of leadership approaches, evidence for the effectiveness and appropriateness of different leadership styles to context, workforce and the individual(s) taking leadership roles.  Systemic change and transactional analysis of workplace function.
  • Challenges and strategies for leading​: Change and conflict management, challenging conversations and personal resilience, setting goals, evaluating and managing performance. Prioritising, delegating, planning, and organising.  Responsibility and accountability. Developing the team and establishing a philosophy of care.  Dealing with ethical dilemmas – bullying, safe staffing, duty of candour, poor care and professional failure.
  • Strengths and areas for development: Managing self, recognising and working with unconscious bias. Reflecting on self to understand strengths and areas for development. Development and career planning for self and colleagues. Supervision, mentoring and developing staff. Disciplinary procedures including discrimination and equalities and the role of HR.
  • Supervisor training: Understanding and preparing for the role of practice supervisor and practice assessor.

Brief description

Gain the knowledge and skills to apply a critical understanding of the demands involved in being a contemporary mental health nurse. Explore key issues in your development as a ‘future nurse’. You will be reinforced as a resilient practitioner who is politically aware and able to influence and develop the delivery and coordination of care. It will serve as a springboard for future careers within the healthcare sector.

Indicative content:

  • Professional working:​ The NMC, RCN, revalidations and fitness to practice in relation to registered status. Local and national policy and legislative frameworks. Professionalism and promotion of best practice that maintains and develops public confidence in contemporary nursing.
  • Political and sector-wide influences on practice: Understanding the NHS structures and socio-political context.  Mechanisms that effect organisational and public policy change in healthcare, and the evolving landscape in Scotland and the UK.  International models of healthcare delivery.
  • Drivers for change in healthcare:​ Auditing, Quality Improvement and Quality Assurance.  Professional regulations, registration of AHPs and other professions. The roles of the GMC and HCPC.
  • Economics of health: Principles of health economics and resource allocation. Health and social care integration and multi-agency collaboration. Maximising political awareness to influence and direct positive change.

Fees and funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you depends on factors such as your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. 

More information

Find out about grants, bursaries, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs in our undergraduate fees and funding section.



We offer a range of scholarships to help support your studies with us.

As well as Abertay scholarships for English, Welsh, Northern Irish and international students, there are a range of corporate and philanthropic scholarships available. Some are course specific, many are not. There are some listed below or you can visit the Undergraduate scholarship pages.

Abertay International Scholarship

This is an award of up to £12,000 for prospective international undergraduate students.

Abertay rUK Scholarship

This is a £4000 award for prospective undergraduate students applying from England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Mental Health Nursing - Funding

Funding arrangements for nursing students are different to other courses.

The Robert Reid Bursary

Two £1,000 awards for students who have overcome challenges to attend university.

Career opportunities

A mental health nursing degree is a great springboard for exploring opportunities in mental health and clinical areas – and this programme makes you extremely mobile. Graduates from this programme can go anywhere and the options are endless.

For example, you can go on to a career working in:

  • Community and hospital settings in the NHS
  • The private and third sectors caring for older people, children and adolescents
  • Substance misuse, acute care and forensic settings

There are also opportunities for further study on our PhD programme. 

Hospital environment - patient lying in bed and a male Nurse is listening to patients chest via the use of a stethoscope

Industry Links

We have strong links with people who have experienced mental distress and with those who provide informal care. Both groups contribute to teaching. In addition, we work closely with the local Health Boards, who provide practice placements and mentors for students, as well as specialist teaching.

You’ll complete 2,300 hours of practice-based work by the end of your degree, which will require you to work across the Tayside and Fife region in a diverse range of settings.

All of this provides you with an invaluable opportunity for networking and potential employment after you graduate.

Hospital environment - patient lying in bed and 2 Nursing staff administering medication via a drip

Get inspired

Meet some of our Mental Health Nursing graduates and find out what they've gone on to do.

A photo of Leah Godfrey smiling

Leah Hosie

MbR Mental Health Nursing, 2018/BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing, 2014

Find out more

A picture of Kate White. She's wearing a white jumper and is looking happy.

Kate White

Kate works in a specialised dementia unit caring for people with dementia who display challenging and complex behavioural needs.

Find out more

A photo of Kieran McGurk standing by a river

Kieran McGurk

Kieran is a Mental Health Nurse at Murray Royal Hospital.

Find out more


Unistats collates comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Unistats dataset (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)).