What mental health nurses do
Mental health nurses in Australia fulfill a wide range of roles, functions, and responsibilities based on a process of ethical decision-making. This diversity is fundamental to promoting optimal physical and mental health, preventing physical and mental illness, and providing therapeutic interventions and treatment to support physical and mental health preferences.
What is a mental health nurse?
A mental health nurse is a registered nurse who holds a recognised specialist qualification in mental health. Mental health nurses:
with a number of health care providers
care for the consumer
consumers and their families during life crises and transition periods
and flexibly to work with consumers for the duration of care
about mental health maintenance and restoration
Work in various settings
across the full range of clinical and service settings
with a range of different methods and approaches
in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas providing vital support
The care mental health nurses provide is:
Takes into consideration the holistic needs of the consumer
MHNs work with consumers to meet recovery goals as defined by them
Informed by context
Looks at the consumer's lived experience in partnership with their family and community
Based on knowledge & experience
MHNs have the qualifications, skills, and experience to provide high-quality care in all contexts
Steps to becoming a mental health nurse
Scholarships to study mental health nursing are available through the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and through each state and territory department of health.
Meet a mental health nurse
Mental health nurses work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to private practices to government departments. In these stories, College members tell us what motivates them, the challenges they face, and how they help the community.
An unexpected mental health nursing journey
In his story, Brent Hayward talks about his unusual career working in a government department as a mental health nurse, and how his qualifications in have helped him shape government policy to achieve better outcomes for consumers.
Supporting mental health nurses
In this story, Kate Currey discusses how her love of mental health nursing quickly developed and a couple of challenges she’s faced along the way.
The challenges of mental health nursing in rural Australia
In her story Beverly Duncan talks about the people who inspired her to study, how her problem-solving skills gained from working at many medical centres aid her in overcoming the challenges of working in a remote area, and the unexpected silver lining of COVID-19.