Mental Health Nursing Degree Apprenticeship (Guide)

In this article, we are going to discuss the Mental Health Nursing Apprenticeship Degree: course contents, teaching methods, career and study progression. 

What is a mental health nursing apprenticeship?

A mental health nursing apprenticeship is for those who want to have a unique impact on the lives of the people they care for, building and maintaining therapeutic relationships across all aspects of people’s lives.

A mental health nurse has the clinical and communication skills required to support an individual within their own recovery process.

And the knowledge and experience to work within the community, primary and acute care settings, and gain the confidence to help clients take the first steps to change their lives.

Mental health nurses

Nursing is a vast field with many areas of specialism and scope for career advancement.

Working as a nursing professional you will need to manage complex, sensitive and often pressured situations.

You are in a position where compassion, trust, and expertise are essential as you care for service users in a wide number of circumstances and with differing needs.

Through the Mental Health Nursing Apprenticeship, you will become capable and competent in meeting the key care needs of all patient groups.

You will focus on developing your interpersonal skills and the importance of building therapeutic relationships. 

You’ll also focus on developing the practical and effective skills of relationship building with service users.

You’ll have a balanced learning experience with a wide and innovative range of teaching and assessment methods both in academic study and in practice. 

As you will learn whilst gaining hands-on experience you will be able to put your studies into practice immediately.

You will see how your skills translate into the workplace, benefitting the service users, their families, and your colleagues.

The Mental Health Nursing Apprenticeship Degree

The Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship is designed to:

  1. Prepare you for registration with the  NMC as a nurse in your chosen field of practice, in line with the NMC Standards for Education and Training 
  2. Support you to achieve a degree-level qualification and meet the requirements of the Registered Nurse – Degree Apprenticeship 
  3. Enable you to manage and lead in contemporary and health and social care systems and have the decision-making skills required to make high-level judgments and demonstrate the ability to be robust, flexible and innovative in the provision of high-quality care and contribute to health care innovation.
  4. Help you develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviors to be competent and job-ready to meet and sustain the needs of the healthcare economy both locally, nationally and internationally.

Teaching methods

The teaching and learning methods include:

  • blended learning (learning in the classroom; learning in practice and learning online
  • learning in simulation and practice
  • learning from service users and carers
  • interprofessional learning.

Course content

The overall course content is based on 7 key themes, which reflect the 7 Platforms in Future Nurse: Standards of proficiency for registered nurses (NMC, 2018). These are: 

  1. Being an Accountable Professional
  2. Promoting Health and Preventing Ill Health
  3. Assessing Needs and Planning care
  4. Providing and Evaluating Care
  5. Leading and Managing Nursing Care and Working in Teams
  6. Improving Safety and Quality of Care
  7. Co-ordinating Care

Study Modules

Year 1 – Academic Level 4
  • Personal Health and Wellbeing
  • Sciences Underpinning Safe and Effective Nursing Practice
  • Understanding Health and Illness
  • Foundations of Evidence for Nursing Practice
  • Accountability & Professional Leadership in Nursing Practice
  • Part 1 Nursing Practice
Year 2 – Academic Level 5
  • Personal Effectiveness for Professional Practice
  • The Science of Nursing Decision Making
  • The Health Promoting Nurse
  • Evaluating Evidence for Translation into Nursing Practice
  • Leading and Managing Nursing Care
  • Part 2 Nursing Practice
Year 3 – Academic Level 6
  • Enhancing Professional Practice  
  • Art and Science of Person-centred Care
  • Leading Innovation and Improvement in Nursing Practice
  • Transitioning to being a Registrant
  • Part 3 Nursing Practice

Career and study progression

On successful completion of the nursing (Hons) course, you will be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the relevant field of practice (Mental Health).

On successful completion of the apprenticeship, you will be awarded the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship Certificate.

A career in Mental Health nursing is exciting, rewarding and challenging with many varied opportunities for personal development and role diversity.

Examples of areas in which apprentices may be employed as a Band 5 registered nurse include:

  • Psychiatric Intensive Care Units (PICU)
  • ENT mental health wards
  • Home treatment rapid response teams
  • Outpatients units
  • Specialist units (eating disorders)
  • Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
  • Community mental health teams
  • Older people’s mental health and healthy aging services
  • Mental health rehabilitation services
  • Single point of access service
  • High secure services
  • Residential centers
  • Clients’ own homes.

With experience, as a registered nurse, you may also decide to move into education, management or a clinical academic career.

Registered nurses must be committed to lifelong learning, meeting the NMC requirements in relation to revalidation every three years, ensuring skills and knowledge remain up to date.

After successfully completing your apprenticeship, you may wish to consider higher levels of post-registration study at the postgraduate or doctoral level.

The assessment procedure 

Assessment and feedback are a fundamental part of your learning experience.

At the University of West London, the assessment strategy has been designed to support and enhance your learning, capabilities, skills, and confidence.

Assessments used may include:

  • reflective essays
  • a personal and professional development portfolio
  • presentations
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs)
  • essays
  • Practice Assessment Document (PAD) – assessment in practice
  • unseen examinations (multiple-choice and short answer)
  • case studies
  • literature reviews
  • simulated scenarios
  • peer assessment
  • service innovation projects.

What is an End Point Assessment (EPA)

The purpose of the End Point Assessment (EPA) is to test your values, skills, knowledge, and behaviors as set out in the apprenticeship standard. 

 The EPA comprises two elements:

  1. Professional Discussion A


  1. Professional Discussion B

Both elements must be passed to pass the EPA overall.

The End Point Assessment will be awarded the following:

  • successful completion of the BNursing (Hons) Mental Health degree
  • employer is satisfied the apprentice is consistently working at the level of  the occupational standard
  • confirmation by the employer, UWL and the apprentice, of their readiness to progress to the EPA.

On successful completion of the EPA you will be able to claim your Apprenticeship certificate! 

Eligibility and entry requirements for a Mental health nursing apprenticeship 

The entry requirements are as follows:

Eligibility, Job Role, and Sponsorship Applicants must:

  1. Provide evidence they meet the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) rules.
  2. Have the right to work in England and  be one of the following:

– A citizen of a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) (including other countries determined within the EEA or those with bilateral agreements), or have the right of abode in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the EEA (including other countries determined within the EEA or those with bilateral agreements), for at least the previous three years on the first day of learning.

– OR  a non-EEA citizen with permission from the UK government to live in the UK (not for educational purposes) and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least the previous three years before the start of learning.

  1. Be employed in a health or social care organization as a healthcare assistant or equivalent and be working full-time.
  2. Have a sponsoring manager and support from the employing organization to ensure commitment (including release to attend off-the-job training). The employer will also need to commit to the apprentice’s supernumerary status when undertaking practice placement blocks.


Where applicants are aged under 18 years at the point of application, Admissions will check they will reach 18 years of age, when they commence their first practice placement in year 1 of the apprenticeship (Level 4). \

Where applicants do not meet this requirement, they will be offered the opportunity to defer their application to the next available intake.

Academic Requirements

Applicants will hold:

  • 112 UCAS tariff points
  • Mathematics and English Language GCSE Grades 9-4 OR equivalent i.e. Functional Skills Mathematics and English Level 2


  • Access to Higher Education Diploma in nursing/health or social care/science with a minimum of 60 credits (45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2), with a Merit/Distinction profile.
  • Mathematics and English Language GCSE Grades 9-4 OR equivalent i.e. Functional Skills Mathematics and English Level 2.

Applicants will usually have undertaken study within the last 5 years.

Evidence of character and health

All offers are subject to:

  • A satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check*
  • Occupational health clearance
  • A minimum of 1 satisfactory character reference from a suitable referee (i.e. line manager)


Applicants should demonstrate motivation, interest, and insight into the requirements of the apprenticeship and be able to clearly articulate a rationale for choosing mental health nursing (to be evidenced via the individual interview).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Applicants are invited to apply for RPL to the course leader. A maximum of up to 50% of the apprenticeship can be RPLd (NMC, 2018 Part 3: Standards for pre-registration nursing programs).

All requests will need to be ratified and reviewed by UWL and approved by the associated external examiner, prior to the start of the apprenticeship.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

How to apply

To start an apprenticeship you will need to register interest with your employer who will advertise these opportunities according to their own processes.

Applicants put forward by their employer will undertake the selection process.

There are few institutions in the UK that offer mental health nursing apprenticeships.

To list a few:

Please visit the institution’s website for more information on the application process, eligibility criteria and other requirements. 


In this article, we discussed the mental health nursing apprenticeships degree. We found that the course is expected to take three years to complete and includes a variety of practice experiences and assessments combined with academic studies designed to complement and underpin the apprentice’s practical learning.

If you are interested in applying for this Degree, we would like to hear more about your reasons and expectations regarding the apprenticeship.

If you are a registered mental health nurse, fell free to share your experience with us and other users that might be interested to follow a mental health nursing apprenticeship.

We are waiting for you in the comments section!

FAQ about mental health nursing apprenticeships

How do I become a mental health nurse UK?

To become a mental health nurse in the UK, you need to be registered with the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC).

To be eligible to register you must complete an accepted pre-registration nursing program, such as a mental health nursing apprenticeship.

What GCSEs do you need to be a mental health nurse?

To become a mental health nurse you will need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths, and science.

2 or 3 A levels, including a science, or a level 3 diploma or access to higher education in health, science or nursing.

Are there any nursing apprenticeships?

Yes, There are nursing apprenticeships, that are designed to give more people the opportunity to become a nurse.

You don’t pay tuition fees or training fees as the apprenticeship costs are covered by the employer.

You’ll earn while you learn on the job and gain valuable experience of life on the ward.

Do the NHS do apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are offered by individual NHS employers.

What are the biggest risks of mental health nursing?

The risks of mental health nursing are related to one’s safety.

The risk categories include violence and aggression, vulnerability, safeguarding and hazards.

How do I train as a mental health nurse?

You can train and work as a mental health nurse, by completing a degree in nursing approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. 


  1. Introductory Mental Health Nursing
  2. Neeb’s Mental Health Nursing
  3. Psychiatric Nursing Made Incredibly Easy
  4. Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Success: A Q&A Review Applying Critical Thinking to Test Taking
  5. PsychNotes, Clinical Pocket Guide


  1. Registered Nurse – Degree Apprenticeship (NMC 2018)
  2. Mental Health Nursing Degree Apprenticeship – University of Plymouth
  3. BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing – Leeds Beckett University

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