Modern-day nursing has turned into a very rewarding career. Speciality nurses such as mental health nurses, oncology nurses, and travel nurses are especially in demand. Education and certifications are important in deciding which speciality you want to pick.


If you aspire to enter the field of mental health nursing, then there are a set of skills and proficiencies that you require along with the required qualifications. Many universities offer a Bachelor’s degree in nursing with mental health as a speciality. The course gives equal emphasis on study material and practical training.


In the UK, the number of mental health nurses has declined by about 10% over the past decade. The NHS plans to recruit about 4000 nurses by 2023-24. So, if you are planning to enter the mental health services, now is the time to do it. Here are the skills and proficiencies that you need to become a mental health nurse with a nursing agency in Hull.

Observational Skills

Observational skills are critical in mental health nurses. The patients will suffer from mood swings and you need to make sure that you are able to read the patient. By observing their behaviour, how they react to certain statements and situations, you will be able to gauge the response you can expect from mental health patients. Being prepared can help to avoid unpleasant experiences.

Interpersonal Communication

Communication is important for dealing with mental health patients. Most of them will be willing to listen to you if you are able to explain things to them at their level. Also, being calm is important. When you can explain to the patient why some type of behaviour is acceptable and some are not, they will listen and try to adapt acceptable behaviour.


As a nurse, you are expected to think on your feet and adapt to the situation at hand. Mental health patients usually like familiar faces, and when you are assigned a new patient, you need to adapt to the environment that makes the patient comfortable.

Patience and Compassion

As a nurse specialising in mental health, you need to be prepared for situations where patients use abusive language or try to physically harm you. You need to know that this is unintentional. The patient’s mental capacity is diminished and they are unable to differentiate acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. In order to deal with these patients, you need to be patient and compassionate towards their situation. Without these skills, you’ll find it difficult to practice in the mental health field.


Dealing with mental health patients can be physically and mentally challenging. You need to make sure that you are resilient to get through a career as a mental health nurse. You are likely to encounter emotional situations are will be expected to deal with them in a professional manner. You should be able to recover fast from difficulties during a patient encounter.

Problem Solving

As a mental health nurse working for the nursing agency, you are expected to think beyond the guidelines to solve problems. The first step to problem-solving is identification. Once identified, the different solutions need to be weighed and the most suitable solution needs to be implemented. Problem-solving is inevitable in this profession, but, you need to make sure that you learn to maximise this skill. This will assist you in leading a healthcare team into solving complex and challenging issues.

Good Judgement

A nurse’s judgement is at the heart of care delivery. Good judgement guides the actions of all healthcare professionals including nurses. Through keen observation and reasoning skills, nurses can make sound and reliable clinical judgements.

Psychosocial Concerns

Mental health patients experience psychosocial concerns such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, sexual abuse, and violence. Nurses are the primary caregiver in most cases and their competency impacts the health outcomes of patients. Nurses need to make sure that they have the skills to deal with these issues.

Mental health nursing is both physically and mentally challenging. Nurses need to be able to deal with these challenges on a daily basis without letting them affect the quality of care they provide. Also, mental health nursing is associated with risk of violence and nurses need to make sure that they create a safe work environment for themselves and the patients. Nurses need to be extremely observational of any changes in the patients that may result in violence.

Mental health patients most frequently use abusive language. Nurses need to be able to disassociate themselves with the situation and not take any encounters with patients personally. Breakaway techniques come in hand during such situations.

If you are planning to get into the field of mental health nursing, you need to make sure that you have to above-mentioned skills to carry out your work efficiently. You will be expected to be kind, caring, and compassionate towards patients as they are not in control of their actions. Compassion should be at the forefront of nursing.