How to become a mental health nurse: Jake's story

Meet Jake. He's a mental health nurse who responds to calls that have been made to 999. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

There's a lot of job satisfaction with being a mental health nurse. You get to be there for someone who hasn't necessarily had someone there.

  • Jake identifies 999 calls that have come in that trigger mental health concerns. He calls patients back to make sure they get access to the right services
  • Calls are very varied and can include patients experiencing low mood, anxiety or psychosis
  • Jake studied ICT at college, worked in a pub for a while and then went to university to do Mental Health Nursing
  • He was inspired to do this career by seeing loved ones with mental health difficulties and wanting to know how to help others in similar situations.
Watch Jake's colleagues in action on BBC One's Ambulance.

What to expect if you want to be a nurse

Nurses care for adults who are sick, injured or have physical disabilities.

  • Nurse salary: £24,214 to £37,267 per year
  • Nurse working hours: 37 to 38 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to become a nurse?

  • Typical entry requirements: You can do a university degree in Adult Nursing approved by the Nursing & Midwifery Council. Some degree courses let you study another area of nursing alongside Adult Nursing, like Jake's specialism in mental health nursing. Full-time courses usually take three years. You may be able to join a nursing degree on the second year of a course if you already have a degree in:

    • a health-related subject
    • Psychology
    • Life Sciences
    • Social work

You’ll need five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, Maths and a science, and two or three A-levels (or equivalent), including at least one science or health-related subject. You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in social care or healthcare work before you apply for nurse training.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

Find more expert advice about nursing careers on the NHS website and if you're interested in a career in nursing, get your guide to a nursing career.

Find out more on the Prospects website about the role of a mental health nurse.

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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