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Staff Nurse Mental Health

Clinical Practice
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice

Area of Practice

  • Mental Health Nursing


  • Hospital Care

Job/Role Summary

  • Assessment, planning and implementation of nursing care for patients with an addiction problem
  • Health education for patients with an addiction problem
  • Facilitation of ward-based motivational group work and support groups for patients in recovery
  • Educate relatives and carers of patients with an addiction problem
  • Work as a part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • Act as a mentor to students in training


Specific qualifications and experience required

  • Registered Mental Nurse
  • 2 years' post-registration experience in working with patients with an addiction problem


Career Milestones

My current job involves me in educating both patients and families about addictions and changes they must make to be content with their life. In order to do that I have had to develop specialist skills in a number of areas. I am involved in motivational counselling with patients helping them to look at what they need to change about themselves and how they might go about this. I have developed insight into the types of psychological changes that out-patients have to make and the efforts involved in doing this. This then helps me to support them in a skilled manner. Over the years I have developed my confidence within my role and therefore my confidence to participate within a multi-disciplinary team and make a meaningful contribution. The skills I have learned in my day-to-day work with patients have in turn been developed in working with the public and their perceptions of mental illness/ addiction difficulties. Many of the general public have anxieties related to mental health. I have developed the ability to establish a rapport with people and still be involved in a treatment plan for the patient. I have personally developed over the years gaining an insight into my own strengths and weaknesses.


What attracted you to this job?

  • The opportunity to advance my knowledge of addictions
  • The opportunity to have a role in educating
  • Working as part of a team
  • Working as part of a community setting team
  • Working with patients and their relatives/carers to bring them to an educated understanding of their difficulties


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

  • Working with patients who have an addiction and being able to offer support to them and for their family
  • Evaluating outcomes and following the progress of patients after they have been discharged, seeing them reach their goals and receiving positive feedback from them when they have achieved them
  • Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, sharing information and receiving support


Important success factors

  • Working with and having the support of my colleagues within the multi-disciplinary team
  • Enjoying my job and the role I have within the team
  • The support of my family


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

You should recognise that this job will challenge you. You should read and learn as much as you can about the role and about patients with an addiction problem. You must not have a judgemental attitude and you need to recognise that the job has a psychological stress factor. You should prepare yourself for being a part of an environment where there are not always successful outcomes for the patients and their families/carers and it will be helpful if you can learn to separate your personal life from your work life. You must be able to work within a team and have the confidence to work well within that setting and working with small groups also


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

  • Confidence
  • Ability to establish a positive rapport with patients and their families
  • Competence in my specialty
  • Reliability
  • Listening skills
  • Assertiveness
  • Skills in effective working within a multi-disciplinary team
  • Approachability


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