Shadowing a Doctor

January 9, 2015

Mental health nursing is a varied field. Whilst there are registered mental health nurses who work in hospitals, the vast majority work in the community.

There are a range of different settings in which you can work within the community. You might be involved in helping people finish their journey through mental health services, assisting with the transition into employment, training or education. You may support those recovering from severe mental ill conditions who require long-term support, or you could even be involved with patients who have advanced dementia. Below are some examples of the types of settings you could find yourself working in:

Community support services

Community support can come in many different forms, but often involves working with those who have serious mental health problems, looking towards recovery.


Mental health nurses can provide support to those suffering from dementia in the community. Severe cases of dementia require 24 hour support, which can include: psychological care, activities, physical care, social interaction, and much more.

Talking therapies

Talking therapies can be used to treat a range of symptoms, from low mood to panic. Mental health nurses can take patients through a range of initial talking therapies, including CBT, which can combat these symptoms when put in place effectively.

The type of activities you could be involved in within these settings could include:

–       Looking after patients who have severe or long-term mental health issues

–       Working alongside the families of those who are mentally ill, providing support and teaching them about their loved ones mental health illness.

–       Completing patient notes

–       Gaining patients trust

–       Discussing patients care and treatment with them, and looking and the best way to move forward

–       Offering therapy

–       Engaging patients in different types of therapy, such as art or music therapy

–       Gaining patients’ trust

–       Making visits to patients at their houses to check on their progress.

–       Analysing situations for patient risk – are they in danger of harming themselves or others around them?

Mental health nursing within the community is a challenging job, but one that brings great rewards. Before considering a career in this area, you might want to consider whether this is the right path for you, as you’ll need a great deal of dedication to your role. You’ll need to be physically fit, have exceptional communication skills, be non-judgmental, be able to make quick decisions and deal with difficult situations calmly and effectively. You’ll also find yourself in emotional situations, where it is important that you remain your composure.

While mental health nursing in the community isn’t always easy, it is a hugely rewarding career. Observing the progress that your patients will make will make it all worthwhile.