International Working as a Mental Health Nurse
NHS Professionals International: Nursing - Mental Health

Working as a Mental Health Nurse

The NHS provides mental health services for adults, young people and children in both hospital and community settings. Specialist mental health services can include forensic, prisoners, eating disorders and drug and alcohol. Many people are referred into mental health services by their doctor, while others self-refer or they are referred by other agencies such as the police, social services, the courts, or the voluntary sector.

The philosophy of mental health care is to provide treatment and care within the least restrictive environment possible. For many people, this involves engagement with community-based services while living at home. Some people may need a short period in hospital to establish treatment or stabilise an existing condition. Hospital admission usually takes place on a voluntary or informal basis. However, there may also be circumstances where detention is required under the Mental Health Act.


Become a Mental Health Nurse today

If you are interested in applying for roles in the UK from overseas, please complete an application today. Someone from our recruitment team will be in touch soon with more information.


Mental Health Nurses in the UK practice under the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) Code of Conduct to ensure they meet all professional, legal, and ethical requirements for working in the NHS. The code states that all Nurses must always follow four key proficiencies: prioritise people, practice effectively, preserve safety and promote professionalism and trust.

Nurses have a legal responsibility to keep up to date with current knowledge and maintain clinical supervision through Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The NHS offers a wide range of training and development options to support this.

Nursing in community services involves support, monitoring, medication administration, care planning, and counselling and advocacy for a group of people. In a hospital setting there is an emphasis on care, safety, and risk management, teamworking and therapeutic and recreational activity to help prepare for discharge.

In both community and inpatient settings, Mental Health Nurses provide treatment and care in partnership with other health and care professionals in multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs). These typically include Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Dietitians, Pharmacists, Therapists, and others. Interventions may be pharmacological, psychological, educational, social, or occupational and specifically tailored to the needs of an individual.

People accessing mental health services are often referred to as clients, service users or patients and they are actively engaged in co-producing their own plan of care. Families and carers are also an integral part of the development of a recovery plan and discharge planning.

Specific duties include:

  • Assessing and talking to patients about their problems and discussing the best way to plan and deliver their care
  • Building relationships with patients to encourage trust, while listening to and interpreting their needs and concerns
  • Ensuring the correct administration of medication, including injections, and monitoring the results of treatment
  • Responding to distressed patients in a non-threatening manner and attempt to understand the source of their discomfort
  • Helping patients manage their emotions through de-escalation techniques
  • Preparing and participating in group and/or one-to-one therapy sessions, both individually and with other health professionals
  • Providing evidence-based individual therapy, such as cognitive behaviour therapy for depression and anxiety

Mental Health Nurses work in hospital and community settings and generally work shifts over seven days of the week, including day and night duty and on-call rotas. Some 60% of Nurses work 12-hour shifts, usually from 7am to 7pm, or 7pm to 7am.  There are also options to work more flexibly by joining staff ‘banks’ operated by NHS Professionals and NHS Trusts themselves.

The basic pay for a Registered Mental Health Nurse, in the UK, ranges from £22,816 - £28,407 a year, for a 37.5-hour week.

Anyone who is trained outside the UK and wants to work as a Mental Health Nurse in the NHS must register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Before this stage, applicants need to successfully complete a two-part application process which includes a Computer-Based Test and an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE).

Overseas Mental Health Nurses must also meet the English language standard set by the NMC.

Join the NHS with NHS Professionals International

NHS Professionals International supports overseas Mental Health Nurses through the application process to placement in a UK hospital or community setting.

We are currently seeking candidates who meet the following criteria at application stage:

  • At least 10 months paid experience as a qualified Mental Health Nurse
  • Registered as a Mental Health Nurse and undertaking mental health nursing duties in your country of residence

Please note: Due to not meeting the ethical recruitment standards, we cannot accept applications from developing countries. Find a full list of Red and Amber countries in the NHS Employers Code of Practice article based on the World Health Organisation (WHO) Workforce Support and Safeguard List.


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