Mental health nursing jobs provide one of the most complex and demanding areas of nursing. With as many as one in three people suffering from some form of mental illness in their lifetimes, the need and demand for nurses who specialise in mental health is on the increase. With most people suffering from this illnesses being treated in the community they live in, many of these nursing jobs require the individual to travel. One of the key challenges for these nurses is to form a trusting relationship with the patient and their families, so that the correct care and support can be provided. As a result, one of the key competencies of nurses specialising in this work includes excellent interpersonal communication skills, with a compassionate personality and the ability to empathise with those suffering from such illnesses.
Those healthcare specialists who secure mental health nursing jobs require specific training to enable them to complete their responsibilities proficiently and productively. However, it is suggested that many people are attracted to these roles through personal experience of knowing someone close, perhaps a friend or family member, who has suffered from some form of mental illness. Experiencing the symptoms, effects and/or recovery process of those suffering from mental illness can provide a level of insight, understanding and empathy with users of these healthcare services. The ability to connect with those who are being treated and understand their needs is one of the most important steps in the road to recovery for suffers of this illness.
Those who are formally trained to work as mental health nurses are typically employed in psychiatric units in general hospitals and specialised psychiatric care facilities. Those who choose to work with mentally distressed people in the community are commonly coined community mental health nurses. The ability to connect with people and gain their trust is as important as their specialist level of knowledge in all types of mental health care, whether community or hospital based.
The proliferation of mental illness at the community and national level is creating an unprecedented level of demand for qualified mental health specialists. According to recent research conducted by The NHS Confederation, there is a considerable increase in the number of common mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the report goes further to claim that the proportion of the English population meeting the criteria for one common mental disorder has increased from 15.5% in 1993 to 17.6% in 2007.