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Introducing Mental Health Nursing in the 21st Century

Module titleIntroducing Mental Health Nursing in the 21st Century
Module codeNUR3200
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Miss Jemima Kempton (Convenor)

Miss Rachel Miller (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module is underpinned by NMC standards of proficiency, Academy of Nursing 7 Pillars of Learning and by relevant evidence and discussions of values-based practice.

Students will develop knowledge and understanding of: the role of the Mental Health Nurse in the 21st Century, the evidence base for recovery orientated practices, psychosocial interventions, assessment, communication, care planning, co-ordination, harm reduction, violence prevention, risk assessment and management, crisis care and carer support.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • You will begin to develop the theoretical knowledge and skills required to support professional practice as a Mental Health Nurse
  • You will develop your understanding of common mental health problems, and learn how to identify the main areas of concern relevant to the assessment of mental health conditions. You will also develop competence in recognising a range of appropriate interventions
  • You will embody excellence in Mental Health Nursing knowledge including therapeutic recovery techniques for people with complex mental health conditions
  • You will develop knowledge and competence in using psychosocial interventions such as a Low-Intensity CBT approach adapted for nursing practice for the recognition and treatment of common mental health difficulties
  • You will develop an understanding and competence in adapting interventions or employing behavioural change techniques for patients with a range of physical and mental health conditions
  • You will gain knowledge regarding referral health, social and community pathways for patients experiencing a range of mental health difficulties
  • You will understand the challenges and context of Mental Health Nursing in the 21st Century

The mental health module builds on your existing knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to underpin your developing professional Mental Health Nursing practice. You will work across the seven pillars of nursing; patient and public involvement, fundamental essentials of nursing care, evidence for practice; no health without mental health, leadership and management of healthcare, global health and ethics and professionalism.

Patient and public involvement: as an Exeter nurse you apply the principle of “nothing about us without us” and the concept of recovery in your interactions with the people you are caring for. You will be taught directly by people with lived experience of serious and enduring mental health problems and their carers. You will develop theoretical knowledge to underpin your developing skills in holistic mental health assessments, including the assessment of a person’s capacity to make sound decisions about their own care and to give or withhold consent. You will appraise the knowledge and skills required to advocate in the best interests of people with mental health problems, to support and empower service-users, their families and carers. You will evaluate core knowledge and skills for partnership working with people, families and carers, enabling them to ensure their opinions are heard. PPI

Fundamental essentials of nursing care: as an Exeter nurse you will develop a clear understanding of the core components in mental health nursing from a variety of perspectives including knowledge and evidence from medical, biological, psychological, behavioural and social sciences. You will understand and apply concepts of law, ethics and accountability. You will develop understanding of mental health pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics in medicines. You will focus on enhancing patient safety. You will understand the importance of work and meaningful occupation for mental health. You will understand how to demonstrate knowledge-based excellence in compassionate communication skills, recognising their importance for establishing and maintaining therapeutic relationships, including undertaking psychosocial interventions. F

Evidence for practice: as an Exeter nurse you will evaluate the evidence base for recovery practices, psychosocial, behavioural, occupational and pharmacological/physical interventions by identifying, using and producing mental health-specific evidence for practice. You will develop a critical awareness of the contribution of NICE, systematic reviews, experimental and observational research methods, quality improvement models, and tools and strategies used to enhance care and service user-centred outcomes. E

No health without mental health: as an Exeter nurse you will understand the importance of according equal importance to mental and physical health. You will understand the reasons for increased morbidity and mortality in people with mental health problems, including the interplay between long-term physical health conditions and mental health. In essence, you will now think in terms of ‘no mental health without physical health’. You will begin to learn how to support people to improve their physical health and identify ways to overcome physical, social and environmental inequalities in health associated with having a mental health problem. You will understand and apply relevant mental health legislation, ethical, professional and legal frameworks.MH

Leadership and Management in Healthcare: as an Exeter nurse you will explore and understand approaches to leadership within mental healthcare. You will begin to apply knowledge in leading care for an individual and small groups of service users. You will understand how to apply effective team leadership skills, to begin to understand and contribute to clinical supervision, identify risk and manage it. You will begin to develop your leadership skills enabling you to lead by example, highlighting opportunities for quality improvement and empowering people to contribute to change. L&M

Global Health: within the overall principles of the recovery movement, as an Exeter nurse you will examine the influence of culture and diversity on mental health in terms of service user experience, disorder prevalence, treatment interventions, prevention, public health strategies, and outcome trajectories. You will examine your own role in reducing inequalities in access to care, therapy and outcomes including mortality and morbidity for people with mental health problems in the UK and internationally. G

Ethics and Professionalism: The Exeter Nurse will demonstrate commitment to professional values - including social justice - and to the flourishing of individuals, families and communities. The Exeter Nurse aspires always to do the right thing and to be of good character. E & P

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of mental health epidemiology, patterns of health, illness and health outcomes in mental health, demography, genomics and wider social and economic determinants of mental health and wellbeing at all stages of the lifespan, including the impact of adverse childhood experiences.GH; MH
  • 2. Demonstrate understanding of the causes, signs and symptoms and their impact on a range of mental health conditions, evaluating a range of sources to support your clinical decision making and critical thinking. E; MH
  • 3. Critically appraise and synthesise evidenced based approaches to person centred holistic assessment, care, treatment and therapy for mental health and wellbeing in people experiencing physical and mental health problems.MH; F; E
  • 4. Evaluate and apply legal, ethical and professional requirements, together with the evidence base, for safe psychopharmacology management and support, crucially appreciating the inclusion of the service user perspective. E; PPI; MH; L&M; E&P
  • 5. Understand how to apply the knowledge and skills for a range of mental health interventions, including psychosocial, psychological, family interventions, relapse prevention, behavioural and organisational interventions. E; MH; E&P

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Demonstrate clear understanding and application of the law, including the Mental Health and Mental Capacity Acts (as it applies to mental health nursing), including the relationship between capacity and consent, to work within legal, ethical, professional and other relevant policies. MH; E&P
  • 7. Evaluate evidence-based health promotion strategies to support people’s self-management of their mental and physical health challenges, prevent ill health, distress and promote both physical and mental health within a psychosocial and recovery framework.GH; PPI; E; MH; E&P
  • 8. Engage in ‘difficult’ conversations, support people who are vulnerable and distressed, in a caring compassionate way using appropriate evidence-based communication strategies. F; E&P

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Evaluate and reflect on the influence of theories and skills that demonstrate clear, logical, and authoritative written and verbal communication, understanding the influence of empathy, reflection, accuracy, and clarity when communicating to service-users, and other health and social care professionals and workers. F
  • 10. Demonstrate knowledge in how to undertake safe relevant drug calculations, and the interpretation and analysis of data for evidence-based mental health care. F; E
  • 11. Utilise a range of information technology and digital media to inform safe and high-quality mental health nursing care. F

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

Your theoretical knowledge will develop through a series of learning activities including lectures, small group seminars, simulation, role-playing based scenarios and independent learning. You will work to develop advanced and critical appreciation of the theory and knowledge behind your evolving mental health nursing skills including:  Assessing, supporting a range of therapeutic interventions such as Low Intensity CBT interventions, planning, implementing and evaluating therapeutic mental health nursing care to support your achievement of the NMC required Standards and Proficiencies (NMC, 2018) and the Code (NMC, 2018)  set out in your Practice Assessment Document (PAD).


The curriculum will expose you to knowledge that underpins Exeter’s seven pillars, NICE guidelines and the NMC platforms for nursing proficiency, applied explicitly to mental health nursing. You will critically evaluate the knowledge required to underpin the diverse role of mental health nurses in health promotion, illness prevention and treatment. University based learning will explicitly prepare you for nursing care and the individual and family based therapeutic activities. These are activities you will be required to undertake under supervision and in collaboration with nurses, other students and healthcare colleagues as a student mental health nurse in your clinical immersions, preparing you to operate as a professionally registered mental health nurse. The academic content will span medical, psychological, behavioural, and social sciences to enable you to critically evaluate the evidence base for and the role of different types of therapeutic interventions.


Four Exeter pillars – Patient and Public Involvement, fundamental essentials of nursing care, no health without mental health and global health – will be at the heart of your learning experience in mental health nursing as you learn to care for people with complex co-morbidities and healthcare needs. Core to this will be the underpinning theories and knowledge to deliver behavioural, organisation and psychosocial interventions.


The other three Exeter pillars – evidence for practice, ethics and professionalism, and leadership and management – are critical as your practice develops and you prepare to manage caseloads and a nursing team. Key components of the curriculum will include evidence-based information (including clinical simulations) – including carer focussed education and support.


The teaching and learning hours contribute to the NMC requirement for sufficient academic learning hours for programmes leading to a second registration. The theory module equates to 412 hours, which is greater than the nominal number of hours associated with a 30-credit module.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
To accommodate Covid 19 teaching and learning activities may be modified to include online, blended, asynchronous and synchronous activities
Scheduled learning and teaching activities76Problem based learning (small group work) online blended, synchronous or asynchronous
Scheduled learning and teaching activities65Assessment and communication simulation. Face to face or synchronous online
Scheduled learning and teaching activities25Lectures online blended, synchronous or asynchronous
Scheduled learning and teaching activities16Seminars (small group work) online blended, synchronous or asynchronous
Scheduled learning and teaching activities7Professional tutorials (face to face, blended, online synchronous)
Guided independent study100Reading and preparation for sessions
Guided independent study62Preparation for assessments
Guided independent study61Preparation for essay


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Media and arts-based accounts of mental health problems or distress. In class activity and preparation for case study5 minute presentation, 5 minute Q&A1 – 5, 7, 9, 11Peer and tutor verbal feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case study 703,500 words 1-7,9,11Written and verbal feedback
OSCE302 stations x 20 minutes 1-3,5,8-10Written and verbal feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Case study (70%), 3,500 wordsCase study1-7,9,11Up to 4 weeks after results
OSCE (30%), 2 stations x 20 minutesOSCE 1-3,5,8-10Up to 4 weeks after results

Re-assessment notes

Student must pass all items of assessment and demonstrate professionalism and fitness to practise, to progress to year 4.

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Bickley, L.S (2017) Bate’s Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking. Wolters Kluwer
  • Bickley, L.S (2017) Bate’s Pocket Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking. Wolters Kluwer
  • Bradshaw, T. and Mairs, H. (eds.) (2017) Health Promotion and Wellbeing in people with Mental Health problems. Sage publications
  • Callaghan, P and Gamble C (2015) Oxford Handbook of Mental Health Nursing. Oxford University Press.Chambers, M. (eds.) (2017) Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing: The craft of Caring. Routledge
  • David, L. (2010). Using CBT in General Practice: The 10 Minute Consultation. Malmesbury: Scion
  • Farrand, P (2020) Low Intensity CBT Skills and Interventions: A Practitioners Guide. London: SAGE
  • Gallagher, A (2020) Slow Ethics and the Art of Care. Emerald Points
  • Mairs, H. (2017) Revisiting negative symptoms: A guide to psychosocial interventions for mental health practitioners. Palgrave MacMillan
  • Norman, I. and Ryrie, I. (eds.) (2013) The Art and Science of Mental Health Nursing: Principles and Practice. McGraw-Hill Education
  • Patel, V et al (2014) Global Mental Health: Principles and Practice, edited by Vikram Patel, Harry Minas, Alex Cohen, Martin J. Prince
  • Turkington, D., Rathod, S. et al. (2008). Back to normality; Cognitive therapy, recovery and psychosis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Waller, D.G., Sampson, A.P et., al. (2014) Medical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Saunders, Elsevier
  • Williamson, T. and Daw, R. (2012) Laws, Values and Practice in Mental Health Nursing: A Handbook. Maidenhead: Open University Press
  • Wright, K. M and McKeown (2018)  Essentials of Mental Health Nursing, Sage Publications

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Clinical Ethics Network:

NICE Quality standards for psychosis (2016)

Nursing and Midwifery Council: 

Royal College of Nursing:

Department of Health:

National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence:

Royal College of Psychiatry:

World Health Organisation:

Healthtalk online:

WeNurses (@WeNurses) . Twitter:


Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources



Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association

Behaviour Research and Therapy

British Journal of Mental Health Nursing

British Journal of Psychiatry

Evidence-based Nursing

International Journal of Mental Health Nursing International Journal of Nursing Studies

Journal of Advanced Nursing

Journal of Affective Disorders

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines

Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing

Journal of Clinical Nursing

Molecular Psychiatry

Nursing Ethics

Psychological Medicine

Schizophrenia Bulletin

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines

The Lancet Psychiatry

World Psychiatry


Key words search

Mental Health, Evidence Based, Recovery, Interventions 

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

NUR1000, NUR1100, NUR2000, NUR2100

Module co-requisites

NUR3000, NUR3150, NUR3300, NUR3400 NUR3500

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date