If you’re thinking about a career in nursing, or are currently a nurse considering a move to the mental health sector, there are many benefits to becoming a registered mental health nurse (RMN). The UK is currently experiencing a shortage in mental health nurses, having experienced a decline in the number of qualified practitioners of 12.63 percent between 2010 and 2017, so the demand is now very high for good quality professionals in this field.


The shortage of mental health nurses is leading to a high demand for jobs in both the public and private sectors. As the NHS struggles to cope with a lack of qualified professionals, the government and individuals are increasingly turning to the private sector to meet the nation’s mental health needs. A higher demand for workers means more jobs and better packages.


Job Security

As people working in mental health are in such high demand, those that do make it into the profession can often count on a high level of job security. Many see it as a career for life, as a lot of mental health placements are for long-term care. Patients that need ongoing support throughout their lifetimes are likely to need RMNs that can commit themselves for the long term, thus there’s less of a risk of job cuts and redundancy.


Helping Others

Working as a nurse in the mental health field is a highly challenging job – you are likely to be caring for people with a range of conditions, from autism and schizophrenia to dementia and addiction. The needs of the people you are caring for are likely to be particularly high, and extremely individualised. This presents a huge amount of challenges in the daily job, and requires patience, tenacity and enthusiasm at all times. However, despite the challenges, working as a mental health nurse can bring unrivalled rewards.


Helping some of the most vulnerable individuals in the country is why many people choose to work in the mental health sector, and it provides many people with significant daily job satisfaction. Job satisfaction, as well as making a difference to society is arguably the main reason most people are motivated to become mental health nurses and, for the right people, this field of healthcare work can provide stimulation and variety each and every day.


More Hours with Patients

A mental health nurse has many roles, such as holistic assessment, developing a programme of complex interventions and delivering specialised care on a daily basis. All of these tasks are centered around building positive relationships with patients. With such a wide range of skills open for development and the frequent opportunities to interact with each patient, it’s not difficult to see why this career path can offer so many opportunities to progress.


How to Become a Registered Mental Health Nurse

If you want to become a registered mental health nurse, you will need to study for a degree and undergo intensive training. There are various universities in the United Kingdom that offer courses in mental health specifically, and their entry requirements vary depending on the establishment and its reputation.


As well as formal training, you will also need certain qualities to make it into the field. Patience, resilience, a thick skin and – most of all – a caring nature are all required of those working in mental health. You’ll also need skills for helping to rehabilitate and bring quality of life to individuals suffering from anything from eating disorders and drug abuse to lifelong mental health conditions.


Why the Private Sector?

The private sector provides most of the long-term mental healthcare placements in the UK, as well as many acute care services. This plays a crucial role in helping the government to meet the huge demand for care and to reduce waiting lists. The sector also enables the government to offer more choice in terms of types of placements and services provided.


The private sector consists of for-profit, not for profit/charity and voluntary organisations, and many mental health nurses are turning to this sector for various reasons. Firstly, working in the private sector can be more lucrative with the right organisation. The average starting salary for an RMN in the NHS is between £22,128 and £28,746 (band 5), and can rise to between £26,565 and £41,787 once you reach bands 6 and 7. Private sector companies, on the other hand, set their own pay scales, with many organisations offering a higher base salary and better staff packages.


Secondly, private sector working allows RMNs greater flexibility in their career paths; organisations set their own career progression paths, and you often have greater opportunities for negotiation in your employment terms. Finally, you also have added job security as most placements are long term; therefore, most employers will be looking for people that can commit to working with their patients for several years at least.


Those interested in a career as an RMN should speak to Time Recruitment, for access to many of the best private healthcare positions.