Mental Health Nursing

The role of the mental health nurse is to foster the health and well being of individuals experiencing changes in their mental health status. Approaches to care include: promotion of mental health, prevention and treatment of acute mental illness and the maintenance of optimum health for persons experiencing enduring mental health problems. Mental health nurses engage in therapeutic activities with individuals and their families in a variety of community settings and in acute psychiatric hospitals.

Why is this course for me?

If you want to care for the psychological, social, physical and spiritual well-being of others, then becoming a mental health nurse is the first step towards a highly rewarding career. This exciting degree prepares you to meet the mental health needs of adults and their families in the 21st century. You will learn to engage with those suffering mental distress or illness, as well as their families, in a positive and collaborative way, empowering them to cope and recover.

What will I study?

You will experience a variety of teaching methods as you establish a strong foundation in mental health nursing practice. These include role-play, small group discussions, workshop simulations and lectures. You will undertake clinical and theory modules, including:

First Year

  • Transition to University
  • Foundations of Mental Health Nursing
  • Biosciences
  • Psychology
  • Nursing practice experience in a hospital/community setting for 11 weeks

Second & Third Year

  • Specialist Care Groups
  • Community Care
  • Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Healthcare
  • Specialty clinical placements include substance misuse and child and adolescent psychiatry

Fourth Year

  • Promoting Health
  • Serious and Enduring Mental Illness
  • Extremes of Age in Mental Health
  • Management & Quality Improvement
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare
  • Clinical placement/internship

Assessment is through a combination of end-of-semester exams and continuous assessment, including assessment of performance on clinical placements.

Clinical Placement

Clinical placements help you to apply theory to practice and to develop the required competencies for your degree.

Clinical learning opportunities are facilitated by HSE Community Healthcare East.

Click here for Higher Diploma in Mental Nursing HSE Clinical Placement Sites 


Career Opportunities

Qualifying is the beginning of an exciting and rewarding career. You can choose to work as a staff nurse, to clinically specialise and become a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) or Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) and specialise in numerous areas such as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Addictions, Forensic Psychiatry and many more. Or you may choose a managerial route and become a Clinical Nurse Manager I or II and perhaps an Assistant Director or Director of Nursing eventually. You could also consider following an education pathway such as becoming a Registered Nurse Tutor (RNT), Clinical Tutor or Assistant Professor/Lecturer. Qualification also opens up opportunities for travel and work abroad. Career prospects in Ireland are excellent. You can also pursue further specialist qualifications through graduate diplomas, Master’s and PhD degrees - UCD has a lot to offer here too.

International Study Opportunities

In second year you can study in Europe for approximately 12 weeks.

Student Profile

"I am in third year, training to complete a Mental Health Nursing degree which I hope to complete in 2015. UCD is excellent to be taught in as it provides great support to students. The clinical placement co-ordinators, personal tutors and module co-ordinators are all so helpful and you feel you could approach them any time."

Caroline Carroll

Mental Health Nursing Virtual Journal Club

Students have the opportunity to hear from experts in the field through the School's Mental Health Nursing Virtual Journal Club. Guest speakers share their knowledge and experience with students to enhance their understanding of Mental Health Nursing in practice. You can watch one of the first sessions here where we hear from Dr. Una Foye from Kings College London. Keep an eye out for the latest instalments in the Schools news section.