There is an increasing demand for highly trained mental health nurses in Australia. The Department of Health estimates Australia will be short-staffed by almost 40 per cent of the mental health nurses it needs by 2030. However, this does mean more opportunities for those interested in pursuing a career in mental health. The mental health nurse career has options to focus on areas like holistic assessment, education, counselling, psychotherapy, medication management or direct nursing care/ It can be an incredibly diverse and rewarding branch of specialised nursing.
Many career prospects arise once you are an accredited mental health nurse in Australia. But how do you go about it? Let’s go over the steps you must complete to get a mental health nurse job.
Step 1 Earn a Bachelor of Nursing Degree
In Australia, earning a Bachelor of Nursing degree is the first step toward becoming a mental health nurse.
You can become a Registered Nurse with a 3-year university degree called a Bachelor of Nursing. To be accepted into the program and successfully complete it, you need to possess strong math and science skills.
Your only other choice, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, is to work as an enrolled nurse in mental health nursing (EN) which will be covered later in this blog.
Step 2: Become a registered nurse
After earning your bachelor’s degree, the next step is to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia to practice as a registered nurse.
The main requirement for RN registration is a Bachelor of Nursing degree. However, there are some additional prerequisites, such as proficiency in English and a background check.
Every year, RN registration must be renewed. You must continue your professional development and have a current practice to maintain your registered nursing certification.
Step 3: Obtain experience in the field of Mental Health
Mental health nurse
As a registered nurse, you are qualified to begin working in mental health. You are not yet authorised to use the title of mental health nurse. You can also have trouble finding good jobs. However, you can obtain experience by assisting mental health professionals or working in a mental health unit.
Step 4: Enrol in an accredited mental health nursing program
Online Master of Mental Health Nursing
Studying nursing with a focus on mental health is the fourth step. You must complete this for accreditation as a mental health nurse. The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses has a list of postgraduate programs that make you eligible to work as a mental health nurse (ACMHN).
A certified Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing or Master’s in Mental Health Nursing is required to practice as a mental health nurse. These courses typically have eight and twelve subjects, respectively.
You can also take part-time postgraduate courses while working a full-time job because they are offered online. The Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing (Mental Health Nursing) at the Institute of Health and Management (IHM) Australia is a fully online course that will lead to a satisfying career in the Mental Health sector.
Step 5: Register with ACMHN for Credentialing
The ACMHN Credential application process is the next step. As per ACMHN it is the only uniform standard nationwide for the recognition of specialized mental health nurses.
There are several requirements, including that you:
- You must be a Registered Nurse (Division 1)
- Have worked for at least a year after receiving your certification or have at least three years of experience as an RN working in mental health
- Have the endorsement of two professionals as references.
Step 6: Submit an online job application for mental health nursing positions
The ultimate step is applying for work as a mental health nurse. You should be able to apply for a variety of jobs, such as registered nurses who work in mental health, mental health nurses, nurse coordinators, liaison clinicians, case workers and health services managers.
Each job position will have different requirements. Some could demand that you should be an accredited mental health nurse. Some can demand that you should have the qualifications for the credential. Others might simply assume you have some industry experience. After completing all the above-mentioned steps, you ought to be in a decent position to locate solid employment, regardless of the requirements.
How to become a Mental Health Nurse in the absence of a degree?
A Degree-Free Path to Mental Health Nursing
Without a degree, you can practise nursing in the field of mental health. This is the route for enrolled nurses (EN). The steps are listed below.
- Complete a TAFE or college-based Diploma of Nursing (Enrolled Nurse) program.
- Register with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia as an enrolled nurse.
- Enrol in an advanced nursing diploma program with a focus on mental health, such as the 78-week Diploma of Mental Health.
- Submit an application for nursing positions in mental health.
In order to provide nursing care, enrolled nurses typically operate under the direction of a registered nurse. You can apply for positions in mental health as an enrolled nurse in settings where registered nurses are employed. The primary distinction is that you are probably going to work in a more active or supportive role.
Become a Mental Health Worker
Perhaps the easiest way to become a Mental Health carer is to undertake a Diploma course that is nationally accredited. You can also use the Diploma of Mental Health as an entry point to the Mental Health industry in Australia, and then apply for higher qualifications later after gaining some experience in the field.
Are you interested in taking up a career as a Mental health nurse? Contact our experts in MWT Global Academy who will help you enrol in a suitable course from the best institutions, and see where your career takes you!