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University offers innovative dual nursing master's degree

Adult and mental health nursing course addresses call for better training to meet patients' needs

A London university is offering a master’s degree that allows graduates to train and register as both mental health and adult nurses.

The first full cohort for the three year pre-registration Master of Science in adult and mental health nursing, one of the first such degrees in the UK, will start at City University London in September.

The university’s school of health sciences associate dean Julie Attenborough said students who have already expressed an interest say the course will allow them to provide comprehensive and holistic care to patients.

‘They have noted the range of physical health conditions that people with mental health problems present with that may be associated with their actual condition, for example, eating disorders or substance use problems,' she said. ‘Mental health problems may also be a consequence of treatment for conditions such as metabolic syndrome or type two diabetes.’

Students on the combined programme will be required to undertake adult nursing theory modules and practice placements, followed by mental health theory modules and placements. 

The final part of the course will consist of integrated theory modules, and both mental health and adult practice placements.

In his Shape of Caring review into nurse education, published last year, Lord Willis recommended an undergraduate nursing degree model in which students undergo two years of intensive 'whole person' training, followed by a third year of specialised training, for example in mental health or children's nursing.

He said that under the current system, nursing students are graduating without the skills required to deal with patients' mental health needs.  

Applicants from a wide range of disciplines can apply for the new course, and requirements include a first or second class honours degree, an awareness of health or health-related care issues, and at least 500 hours of clinical experience.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council spokesperson confirmed the regulator has approved the programme.

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