BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health) Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship This course is only available to applicants via an apprenticeship scheme.

Year of entry

This course is only available to applicants via an apprenticeship scheme.

Welcome to the Registered Nurse – Degree (NMC 2018) Apprenticeship containing BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health). Your programme has been designed in line with the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Standards for pre-registration nursing programmes (NMC 2018) and standards of proficiency for registered nurses (NMC 2018) along with the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education Registered Nurse -Degree (NMC 2018) Standard (2019) to help you develop the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to be able to provide the best possible person-centred compassionate nursing care to people in the many settings that nurses work. Your programme will also furnish you with the skills that you need to become a “lifelong learner” acquiring new knowledge and skills throughout your career. The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work has completed a long journey in considering our vision for the future nurse and how this could be represented across our Pre-Registration nursing curricula. The following is our vision for nursing practitioners as we move into the next decade:

We want to help you become a critically aware, creative, competent practitioner of nursing who gives primacy to the delivery of person-centred care within the local and global economy.

Our vision, for the future nurse is of a creative, innovative, competent, visionary professional who places people at the centre of all they do. You will become a politically aware advocate and health activist. You will work autonomously and be a joint decision maker with service users, their families and other health and social care providers. You will have a strongly held belief in equality. You will be a leader and inspiration to others, using expert communication skills, problem solving and personal resilience to improve the health and wellbeing of your service users and community.

This apprenticeship is for those who wish to be come a registered nurse and offers an alternative route to this from the traditional three-year fee-paying full-time programme.

Mental health nurses play a crucial role in supporting people who are vulnerable (and often seriously ill) in hospitals and the community. If you want a career where you can make a difference to the lives of people in need of care and support, and where each day brings new challenges and experiences, Mental Health Nursing is a good choice.

The course equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed, and enables you to be eligible to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

You will explore areas including:

  • mental illness and mental health
  • therapeutic interventions
  • assessment and planning care
  • service users’ perspectives on care
  • evidence-based practice
  • human biology and pharmacology.

Mental health nursing is a diverse and dynamic profession working collaboratively with people experiencing a range of mental health and psychological problems, in a diverse range of settings. As well as being immensely rewarding, mental health nursing offers a range of career development and education options and the opportunity to specialise. In addition, a nursing qualification consistently provides the opportunity to work overseas.

Our innovative programme will engage you in theoretical and practical learning. Upon successful completion you will be eligible to apply for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Collaborative learning with our other health programmes and local service users will enable you to gain deeper awareness of the health needs of people with mental health and psychological problems.

Our Simulation Suites will support your practical learning in a safe environment. You will participate in clinical supervision throughout your programme of study to foster your resilience and facilitate your reflections on theory and practice.

Canterbury Christ Church has a long history of providing nurse education and 97% of our graduates are in professional roles within 6 months of finishing their course (DLHE 2016/17), providing high quality care locally or further afield, wherever there is a need.

This programme has been developed with service providers and service users to deliver contemporary, evidence based nursing education. We ensure that our graduates are fit for practice in evolving and dynamic health care services, within the public, charitable and private sectors.

The Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship is a 4 year programme that runs over 45 weeks per year. As a Mental Health Nurse you will require a wide range of theoretical and clinical knowledge to practice safely and effectively. There is an equal division between university-based learning (2,300 hours) and practice learning (2,300 hours).

Theoretical modules will cover a variety of relevant subjects including law and ethics, professional issues, empathy, service users' experience of mental illness, anatomy and physiology, psychopharmacology, health promotion and working with people with learning disability and people with mental health and psychological problems. In the last stage of the programme, you will cover psychodynamic and systemic approaches to mental health and learn about specialist services and care.

We use problem-based and enquiry-based learning. This method helps you understand topics more deeply. It also enables you to use theory to support person-centred care delivery and decision-making. You will also learn with and from other health and social care students through interprofessional education events.

Simulated practice sessions are related to the theory you are learning. These will support you to make important links between this theory and caring for people in practice.

The programme has been designed so that you will have at least one study day per week throughout the programme to undertake the theoretical element of it. These days will either be used to undertake activities such as attend formal sessions at University, complete directed learning activities, join learning support sessions and complete assignments.

To support your studies you will have access to a wide range of resources via our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), as well as the University’s award winning library.

Throughout your 4 years of study you will participate in a wide range of practice learning. You will learn within the hospital setting sampling a variety of specialities. You will learn within a variety of community settings to experience the services available to patients requiring care outside of hospitals.

During your supernumerary practice learning placements you will be expected to work the shift pattern used by the practice area which may comprise of early or late shifts, some night duty and possibly long days. You will be allocated a Practice Supervisor and a Practice Assessor, who are registered professionals who will organise your learning experience and assess your practice against the NMC proficiencies. You will also have opportunities to work with the many other professionals involved the care of people and gain an understanding of their vital roles.

Year 1

Practice Learning 1 (40 Credits level 4)

This module aims to equip the you with the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and attitudes and behaviours required to perform fundamental clinical cores skills as a Registered Nurse in a range of settings.

Clinical Supervision 1 (20 Credits level 4)

This module aims to equip you with the necessary skills to be a lifelong learner and to develop in to a reflective practitioner through the participation of group supervision.

Professionalism, Relationships and Fundamental Skills (20 Credits level 4)

This module will enable you to recognise your role as a partner in care and how this can be adapted to the care context through the exploration of core communication skills, professional code of practice and interprofessional person centred care.

You will also apply knowledge and understanding of healthy human anatomy and physiology that is delivered within the Practice Learning 1 module.

Compassionate Conversations (20 Credits level 4)

You will develop an understanding of common mental health conditions and detection of these when co-existing with physical health conditions. To develop the ability to facilitate caring conversations with those experiencing emotional distress.

Wellbeing Across the Lifespan (20 Credits level 4)

This module aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of the factors that influence health and wellbeing across the lifespan including end of life.

Year 2

Practice Learning 2 (40 Credits level 5)

This module will enhance your knowledge base, practical skills and attitudes and behaviours required to deliver safe person centred care, and develop your understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the multidisciplinary team.

Clinical Supervision 2 (20 Credits level 5)

On this module you will be equipped you with the necessary skills to be able to utilise literature to enhance evidenced based practice and to embed reflexive conversations to link your practice experiences to theory and contemporary evidence-based practice through the participation of group supervision.

Collaboration, Engagement, Screening & Assessment - Biopsychosocial Approaches to Mental Health (20 Credits level 5)

You will develop an understanding of, and empathy for, the experiences of service users experiencing serious mental health problems, and enable students to relate these too socio-economic, anthropological, and political and biopsychosocial theories.

Year 3

Practice Learning 2 (Cont) (40 Credits level 5)

This module aims to enhance your knowledge base, practical skills and attitudes and behaviours required to deliver safe person centred care, and develop your understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the multidisciplinary team.

Collaborative Formulation and Care Planning - Biopsychosocial Approaches to Mental Health (20 Credits level 5)

The aim of this module is to build upon your empathy, knowledge, understanding and skills to promote the collaborative bio psycho-social formulation of Service Users problems as a basis upon which to plan future care.

Evidence Based Interventions - Biopsychosocial Approaches To Mental Health (20 Credits level 5)

Within the context of Interprofessional and inter service provision of care, you will increase your knowledge, understanding and skills in delivering bio psycho-social interventions, based upon collaborative formulation of problems and care planning structured around Stress Vulnerability (bio psycho-social) Model.

Complexity and Care (20 Credits level 6)

You will consider the associations of physical ill health, mental disorders and social disadvantage and childhood adversity and demonstrate an understanding of the biological and psychosocial determinants of health, developing an appreciation of the social and economic factors that confer risk or resilience for health outcomes through their influence on brain development and function over the life course

In addition you will commence Practice Learning 3, Clinical Supervision 3 – Mental Health and Reviewing and Analysing practice but the majority of the content of these modules will be delivered in year 4 of the programme

Year 4

Practice Learning 3 (40 Credits level 6)

You will develop your knowledge base to support safe and effective practice, decision making skills responding proactively and flexibly to situations encountered whilst considering yours and others learning needs.

Clinical Supervision 3 – Mental Health (20 Credits level 6)

This module will equip you with the necessary skills to be able to utilise literature to enhance evidenced based practice and to embed reflexive conversations to link your practice experiences to theory and contemporary evidence-based practice through the participation of group supervision 

Reviewing and Analysing Practice (20 Credits level 6)

Through focusing on an aspect of contemporary practice and critically considering the evidence base you will explore current practice provision and embrace how any potential change will transform practice for the benefit of service users and their families.

Culturally Competent and Psychotherapeutic & Systemic Approaches to Practice (20 Credits level 6)

This module aims to introduce you to psychotherapeutic and relational systemic theory and to consider how this can inform their mental health nursing practice. You will reflexively explore factors that influence the therapeutic relationship and practice in multiple contexts; the individual, family, carers, the environment and systems including organisational and interprofessional contexts. 

Registration as a qualified nurse opens a multitude of career options, the nurse of the future will provide care for a huge variety of people in many different settings, you may work on a hospital ward or care for patients in their own homes with a community nursing team. Later you may decide on alternative careers such as nursing research or even decide to become a nurse lecturer, you may decide to broaden your horizons and work overseas or even work for other organisations such as the prison service or armed forces.


Employers may access their apprenticeship levy or government co-investment to fund the programme as part of an apprenticeship.


As required by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC, 2018) the Registered Nurse (Degree) - BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing programme compromises of 4,600 hours; 2,300 hours of these are theory and 2,300 in supernumerary practice placements.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and practical workshops. You will typically have around 6 contact hours per week.

Modules will use a Problem Based Learning approach and incorporate the ‘flipped classroom’. Problem based learning involves setting a series of questions or triggers to guide you towards the information that you need as opposed to the traditional methods of receiving information from your lecturer. You will be set tasks either individually or in small groups and have the chance to discuss your findings and receive feedback and further guidance from your module lecturer. This approach encourages independence and will develop your skills of enquiry. A flipped classroom approach involves you being provided with learning resources to use at any time outside of the classroom, this material will include such resources as narrated power points, podcasts, online books and articles and short tests and quizzes and will support your learning of tasks set. You will attend traditional lectures to gain core knowledge of some subjects. You will also have opportunity to work in facilitated seminar groups which will be used to share learning and experiences.

Each Trimester you will have a supernumerary practice learning placement where you will develop skills to meet the practice learning competencies contained in the PAN London Assessment Document. Over the course of the programme the NMC requires you to complete 2300 hours of supernumerary practice learning

All programmes are informed by the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy 2015-2020

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, workshops or other timetabled sessions you will continue learning through self-study.  Typically, this involves reading journal articles and books, undertaking research in the library, working on projects, and preparing for coursework assignments/examinations, workshops and seminars. You will have timetabled days where you will be able to complete this work. This will form the part of the 2300 theory hours stipulated by the NMC (2018).

Your module tutor will direct you towards specific readings and/or activities to complete before and after your class. 

Overall workload

All 20 credit module have 30 academic contact hours. In addition you are expected to complete 170 hours of directed learning for each 20 credit module.  Over the course of the programme you will be allocated minimum of one study day a week to enable you to complete the required 2300 theory hours dictated by the NMC (2018).

The 40 Credit practice modules have 60 contact hours and then 600 or more hours (depending on level) of planned supernumerary practice learning time. In placement learning blocks you will be expected to work the shift pattern used by your placement area which may comprise of long days, early or late shifts and some night duty. During placement weeks you will continue to have one study day a week.

Academic input

The team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience.

All our team member hold or are working towards teaching qualifications. They are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching. You will have an allocated a personal academic tutor to provide support for the 4 years of your programme.

Where appropriate sessions may be delivered by practitioners form clinical practice or delivered in partnership with service user co-teachers.  

Throughout your programme you will be assessed in both theory and practice using a variety of assessment methods. For each stage of the programme you will be required to complete an assessment of practice using a document called the Pan London Assessment Tool. This is a document used by many universities that requires you to achieve the practice competencies identified by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. You will be assessed in practice by qualified nurses who have undergone specific training for this role. For each stage of the programme the Practice Learning module is worth 40 credits.

In each stage the remaining 80 credits are divided into five 20 credit modules. Each module has its own assessment(s) designed to test understanding of the module content and achievement of the module learning outcomes. Different assessment strategies are used including, but not limited to, written pieces, essays, presentations and examinations. Within your assignments you are expected to use the latest research and evidence to support your analysis and acknowledge the use of such literature by means of the Harvard Referencing standard. The University is committed to fair assessment procedures for all students.

Each module provides you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module normally contains at least one piece of practice or 'formative' assessment for which you receive feedback from your tutor. Formative assessments are developmental and any grades you receive for them do not count towards your module mark.

There is a formal or 'summative' assessment at the end of each module. The grades from summative assessments count towards your module mark.


You will receive feedback on all formative assessments and summative assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

You must pass all modules with a mark of 40% or higher to complete the programme. 

To progress from one year to the next all theory and practice assessments must be passed.

During placement you are required to work the shift patterns of your practice area. This ensures that you experience the full range of activity in your individual placement. Shift work could include weekends, bank holidays and night duty.

Placements are varied to ensure you achieve the NMC requirements for registration.

Students in placement must conform to the rules of appearance and conduct as set out by their placement provider/organisation.

This Mental Nursing degree is subject to a conjoint approval between the University and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Upon approval, it is further subject to monitoring processes by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

To be eligible to apply for registration with the relevant statutory regulatory body, you must demonstrate good health and good character throughout your studies and on completion. Applications for professional registration will be subject to satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks and Occupational Health clearance.

On completion of the course and in preparation for registration, the programme director must be satisfied that you meet the relevant statutory regulatory body fitness to practise criteria. You will be required to sign an annual declaration of ongoing fitness to practise at regular intervals during the course. The Faculty of Health and Wellbeing has a fitness to practise policy and procedures which may be instigated should you demonstrate behaviour or conduct that falls short of that expected by the University and/or statutory regulatory body.

For more details, visit

Nurses are regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and nursing students are expected to comply with ‘The Code’ – a regulatory guide which relates to professional standards. A copy of this is available at

The Simulation Suites offer you the chance to practise nursing skills in a safe environment which replicates some areas of the clinical placements you may experience.

The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work has close working relationships with placement providers and many of our graduates find work in our local health services.

We work with the NHS, including the Acute and Community sectors. We also work with private and voluntary health and social care organisations.

Fact file

UCAS institution code

  • N/A


  • 4 years

    The programme is a 4 year apprenticeship programme comprising 2,300 hours theory and 2,300 hours practice as stipulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Over the course of the programme you will have a minimum of one day per week assigned to academic study which is called off the job training. The remaining days of the week with either be spent in your usual place of work or on placement. The length of the programme may be extended should you be required to reattend any modules or "catch up" any missed practice hours.


  • September 2020

Entry requirements

  • Entry requirements are in line with the current university requirements and may be subject to review. This is currently 104 UCAS points comprising A-levels at grades BCC or equivalent. Candidates must also hold English Language and Maths GCSE grade 4-9 or Functional Skills level 2 or equivalent.



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Last edited: 05/05/2020 15:46:00