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Career Boost for Mental Health Nurses


A group of employees of NHS Grampian Mental Health Services are set to graduate this Friday morning (4 December) from a 'one-off' government-funded course to obtain a second professional qualification as first level Registered Mental Health Nurses. The will graduate from Robert Gordon University.

The course, which lasted 18 months, was provided as a result of the challenges NHS Grampian were experiencing at the time to recruit qualified mental health nurses. 

The students already have qualifications as registered adult nurses or as second level registered nurses.  All continued to fulfil their full time jobs whilst undertaking the course which was a re-written version of a two year programme.  The course was designed to be work-based and flexible, and used a blended learning approach that allowed the students to achieve the Diploma of Higher Education in Mental Health Nursing and eligibility to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in a shorter time than is usually required.   

To reach this point, students have completed six theory modules and two clinical modules. They were supported to attend fourteen study days at the University, twenty five two-hour group tutorial sessions at Royal Cornhill Hospital and three placements outwith their own work places.  Clinical Nurse Managers also agreed to the students having three hours per week of protected study time. 

Julie Kennedy (45), originally from Orkney, was previously a second level Mental Health nurse with many years’ experience in the field. 

“When I first decided to commence the course I was excited but apprehensive” comments Julie.  “There have been many ups and downs during the course but with the help of my tutors, colleagues and family I made it through.  I feel it has been really worthwhile completing this course and it has greatly increased my confidence, knowledge and understanding in mental health nursing.”

Debbie Banks of the University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery was the Senior Lecturer who facilitated the course.

“It has been a joy to work with this group of nurses over the last 18 months.  They have shown amazing diligence and commitment to the course and their efforts are now being rewarded with the career progression they were looking for.  I wish them all the best for this next stage of their working lives”. 

Graduates appearing at Friday’s 10.30am ceremony include Kate Law (49) from Inverurie, Amanda Fleming (26) from Aberdeen and Julie Kennedy.  They will be accompanied by their NHS managers/mentors for the course: Clinical Nurse Manager Shirley Porter; Ward Managers Paddy Philpott, Steve MacDonald and Amelia Gordon; and Allen Robertson, Community Psychiatric Nurse, Substance Misuse Service.  Senior Lecturer, Debbie Banks, will also be in attendance.