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Nurse Manager Mental Health

Leadership & Management
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice
  • Management

Area of Practice

  • Mental Health Nursing


  • Hospital Care

Job/Role Summary

  • Management of an in-patient and day patient treatment provision for patients with addiction problems
  • Staff management inclusive of organisation, performance review, training and development needs and staff morale
  • Participation in multi-disciplinary meetings and adverse incident reviews
  • 'Act up' for line manager on a rotational basis inclusive of bed management on the hospital site, organisation of general staff of hospital both day and night duty


Specific qualifications and experience required

  • Registered Mental Health nurse
  • 2 years post-registration experience in the specialty of addictions and a recognised qualification

Desired criteria:

  • Psychotherapy training


Career Milestones

Prior to working in the addictions unit I worked in all the hospital wards gaining very valuable experience in general psychiatry which was essential in working in addictions, as patients with dual diagnosis is a significant aspect of the work. I was given the opportunity to train in psychotherapy which eventually led to a Master's degree in Psychoanalytical Studies. I joined a very inexperienced team which developed an addiction service from no service being in place prior to that. This was a useful period of development for me as much of my knowledge, skills and competence was derived from self-directed learning. This experience instilled an aptitude for selective learning, prioritising and assimilation of appropriate material for myself and other staff. The experience also taught me the value of training and leadership.


What attracted you to this job?

  • Working within a team
  • Good supervision and support available
  • I recognised that my competence, knowledge and skills were what was required for the post
  • The service has potential for growth and development


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

  • Helping other staff to reach their full potential, enjoy their work and feel their contribution is rewarding
  • Helping patients recover from illness, both long-term and short-term
  • The fact that I am always learning
  • I find this post mentally stimulating and new development opportunities are always available


Important success factors

  • Supportive team, good morale and atmosphere of understanding
  • Training and development (prevents judgemental approach
  • Increased awareness of the meaning of accountability, knowledge of the limitations within which I work, the need for constant up-dating and valuing diversity


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

You should take any appropriate training and experience opportunities that become available to you. You should be aware that addictions are a complex area and it will take time, patience, a willingness to learn, an ability to acknowledge your own mistakes, an ability to time interventions and an acknowledgement that your efforts are not always appreciated. Before taking up a post like this you should consider whether or not you like working in a team and whether or not you like group work. You should also consider whether or not you can handle the stress of abusive behaviour and allegations. It would be helpful for you to establish a network of colleagues and friends who will support you in times of difficulty. Remember to look after junior staff - they are the senior staff of the future. Put time and effort every working week into building bridges.


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

  • The skill to remain calm, focused and professional when under pressure and diffuse difficult situations when they arise
  • The skill involved in being approachable and giving others time and space
  • Skills in identifying.
  • Providing and supporting development opportunities for staff
  • Staff support
  • Flexibility
  • Diplomacy and team management
  • Listening skills
  • Role-modelling skills
  • Communication - both verbal and non-verbal
  • Empowerment of others
  • Conflict resolution and use of other agencies to resolve conflict


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