3110 Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing - Mental Health (pre-registration)
The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Mental Health Nursing is a two year full time course that gives you everything you need to begin your Mental Health Nursing career. It represents a rigorous combination of theoretical work in the classroom, along with practical experience in clinical settings during your practice placement. After successfully completing this course you will be entitled to register to practise with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Please note: This course is funded by the NHS for UK and EU students, meaning you will have no tuition fees to pay. In addition, if you are a UK resident you will receive annual financial support of £1,000 and you can apply for a means tested bursary.
This PGDip will give you the credentials you need to be eligible to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a qualified nurse. The course represents a rigorous combination of theoretical work in the classroom and practical experience in clinical and community settings. The PGDip in Mental Health Nursing will allow you to acquire the higher level skills of critical thinking, reasoning and analysis in this area.
This course represents two-thirds of a masters degree. The outstanding third may be taken in the future through a top-up course.
Duration: 2 years Start Date: February
On the PGDip in Mental Health Nursing you will acquire the skills and knowledge needed to care for patients in increasingly complex situations, both in hospital and in the community. You'll become knowledgeable about a whole spectrum of mental health complaints, including: stress, depression and anxiety, to name a few.
At Health Sciences we are proud to put special emphasis on developing attributes like empathy and compassion. It is these humanitarian instincts that are particularly relevant in the field of mental health nursing. In addition, higher level research skills and evidence based practice underpin this programme from day one.
As a student you will benefit from the results of world class research, undertaken here at the faculty; giving you the best informed start to your career. You will also benefit from our firm links with our NHS colleagues, along with our distinct multidisciplinary approach. Furthermore, we will work hard to help you become experienced at making complex decisions, evaluating practice, co-ordinating care and being an advocate for patients' needs.
Applications must be made through UCAS. This course can be found in the undergraduate section.
Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
This Mental Health Nursing Postgraduate Diploma comprises theory and practice elements to ensure appropriate preparation and assessment in both areas. You will gain a wealth of practical experience during your practice placement, which will help you to assimilate the role of a nursing professional. Theoretical modules are designed to cover the many subjects needed for nursing, including: health sciences, psychology, sociology, leadership and politics, as well as the fiscal aspects of nursing.
However, the main emphasis is on developing higher level skills of critical thinking, reasoning and analysis. You will also develop enhanced leadership skills, which will equip to supervise, delegate and challenge practice in the future.
This programme represents two thirds of a masters degree. If you wish, you can complete the outstanding third at a later date through a top-up course.
Mental Health Nursing is for those with exceptional communication skills, absolute patience and who never judge behaviour, however challenging. Mental Health nurses have the opportunity to improve the lives of those who are frequently excluded by others in society and who may be suspicious of support that is offered.
Achieve Your Career Aspirations
Discover more about the PGDip in Nursing from Senior Admissions Tutor, Jim Bird
“I’m enjoying the variety of settings for practice placements. They have given me a perfect opportunity to learn outside of the lecture environment in addition to opening my eyes to a spectrum of potential employment opportunities.”
To enter one of our courses, you must meet our academic criteria. You must also have undertaken some relevant formal academic study within the past five years.
Applications should be submitted through UCAS. Once you have submitted your application, the Admissions Team will review it to check that you either already meet or are on target to meet our academic entry criteria for this course. If so, your application will be passed to the Programme Admissions Tutor who will review your personal statement and reference and assess these against fixed criteria.
What will the Admissions Tutors look for in my Personal Statement?
The Admissions Tutor looks for evidence that you offer a caring and compassionate approach; that your personal values and attitudes align with those of the NHS Constitution and the University; that you have realistic insight to the area you plan to study; and that you are committed to both study and practice parts of the course.
Why do you want to be a Mental Health Nurse? What is it about ‘your’ attitudes, values and character that makes this profession so appropriate for you?
What do you understand about the role? To further strengthen your application, it is important that you demonstrate a clear insight into your chosen profession and scope of the role. This should hopefully be achieved by reflecting on relevant work experience, volunteering or shadowing you may have undertaken.
Discuss your relevant academic preparation. What have you particularly enjoyed during your studies and how do you feel this has prepared you for this course. Discuss any particularly relevant projects/work you may have undertaken.
Personal interests – sports / music / drama / ‘team’ / job / responsibilities / relaxing / etc. Identify transferable skills that will be useful in your chosen profession.
The Admissions Tutor will then decide whether to shortlist your application and invite you to attend a selection session or reject your application. You will normally be notified of this decision within 3 weeks of submitting your application, however at peak times this can be longer.
What happens if my application is shortlisted?
If the Admissions Tutor decides to invite you to a selection session you will receive an invitation via email. You will be offered a range of dates to choose from and further information on how to confirm your attendance. You will also receive a link to a website with important information informing you how to prepare and what to expect during your selection session.
Nursing Selection sessions normally last approximately 4 hours. During this time you will undertake a number of assessed activities:
Numeracy and written exercise – a total of 45 minutes available to answer 10 numeracy questions and one written question linked to NHS Core Values. The numeracy questions are similar to Level 2 Key Skills/Functional Skills questions. Example numeracy questions can be found in the "Useful Downloads" section, at the bottom of the Programme Overview page. To help you prepare for this we recommend you use the BBC Bitesize revision tools.
Group Discussion – small groups of around 6 applicants will have 20 minutes to discuss a particular topic linked to NHS Core Values. Two assessors will monitor this discussion and you will be assessed on your contribution and your interaction with other members of the group. It will be helpful to draw on your experience during this task and hopefully interesting to hear views and opinions from others with similar interests to you.
Reflection – short 1:1 discussion with Assessor which will allow you to reflect on the group discussion.
Situational Judgement – short activity exploring NHS Core Values only lasting around 3-4 minutes
For each activity you will be given a numerical score. All scores will be combined and used in conjunction with details from your application to determine whether to make you an offer or reject your application. You will normally be notified of this decision within 2 weeks of attending the selection session.
During the selection session you are likely to meet academic members of staff, current students, clinicians and service users. Their thoughts and observations support the evidence you have provided on the day but be assured that all final decisions are made by the admissions tutor, who will review your whole application to enable a final decision to be made.
As part of the selection session, you will also have the opportunity to pose yours questions to Admissions Tutors and current students in order to discover more about the course and studying at Southampton. We get a lot of information from you in this session so it’s important that you ask all your questions too.
Understanding your offer
If you receive an offer of a place to study on our course, this will be a “Conditional” offer. This means to secure your place on this course you need to meet certain conditions such as attaining certain academic grades/qualifications. Any conditions attached to your offer will be shown on UCAS Track.
All offers are also made on the condition that you pass an Occupational Health check and Disclosure and Barring Service (criminal record) check. Further information on these processes will be provided to you before you start the course.
You will only be able to enrol on the course when you have met all these conditions and your offer becomes “Unconditional”.
In accordance with the NMC (2010) Standards for Pre-registration nurse education, students must complete 2300 hours theoretical study and 2300 hours practice study. The Post Graduate Diploma in Nursing has been designed to allow students to complete the NMC requirements as well as gain the required European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits to be awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Nursing (pre-registration) with eligibility to register with the NMC in the appropriate field of practice.
Requirements and assumptions
Students must complete 2300 hours of theoretical study and 2300 hours of practice.
To achieve Postgraduate diploma students must achieve 60 ECTS (of which at least 45 ECTS must be at level 7).
1 ECTS = 25 hours of student effort
Working week is taken to be 40 hours in both theory and practice
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the
programme and the learning outcomes that a typical
student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage
of the learning opportunities that are provided.
More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide
Fees & funding
Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.
Please note: If you are interested in our Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing – Mental Health and are applying for enrolment in 2018 you will receive a bursary and pay no tuition fees.
Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such
essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the
academic requirements for each programme of study.
There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the
You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc).
Where a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.
Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Computers are provided on the campus but many student choose to use their own laptops/tablets to support their work.
A uniform for clinical practice will be supplied but you will need to buy suitable footwear.
Printing and copying
Some pages or items of the electronic Assessment of Practice Portfolio (eAOPP) may need to be printed/photocopied.
In the majority of cases, coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is likely to be submitted online. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit online and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/isolutions/services/copying_for_students_and_visitors/faq.php#594
Please visit www.southampton.ac.uk/pgdip for more on costs including information on travel and living costs.
Students will receive the immunisations which prepare them for practice, as recommended by Occupational Health. Students may opt to pay for others (e.g. meningitis).
Disclosure and Barring Certificates or Clearance:
Students will be required to provide evidence of DBS clearance.
Translations of documents:
If any documents that you use during the programme that are not in the English language (for example those that might be used to support requests for extensions to deadline), you will need to provide an English translation from a professional translator.
Students may opt to pay for parking whilst on campus, and there may be opportunity to buy parking space whilst on placement.
In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated
with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also
ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and
Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.
Modern nursing is a demanding vocation that could lead you into employment in a variety of settings in both hospitals and the wider community. As a graduate your degree qualification and practical experience will give you the ideal platform to develop your career in the direction that interests you most. Furthermore, as your knowledge and expertise increase you could move into a more senior position. For example, you could become a consultant nurse, leading a team and/or working in advanced clinical practice.
You could also opt to work in education, where you will train and inspire future generations of nurses. Fast track opportunities to enrol on doctoral programmes will exist if you prove to be a high-flying student. In addition, you may have the option to combine practice and research, or research and education. These are known in the profession as clinical academic careers.
Learning & Assessment
Assessments on this PGDip in mental health nursing take the form of essays, exams, projects and professional conversations.
Practical skills will be assessed whist you are on placement and recorded by your practice mentor.
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