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It takes a lot of effort to qualify and get into nursing: from qualifications and intense exams to work experience placements and long hours, but what are the soft skills needed to be a mental health nurse?

Work ethic

You’ll be aware that it takes a lot of work to be a mental health nurse. There are the degrees, such as those offered by Wilkes to help prepare you for being a psych np. By studying and taking on the placement offered, in addition to having already gained a nursing degree and an R.N license, medical certification like advanced life support shows a willingness and dedication to work hard and improve your knowledge.

Problem-solving skills

There’s no doubt that as a mental health nurse, you’ll face problematic situations and troubled people with a range of complex mental health issues. Having the ability to deal with problems, find the appropriate solution and defuse any potential situations before they get out of control is an important skill to have.

Communication skills and adaptability

It’s crucial you are able to communicate with a range of people, from patients and their families to other healthcare professionals. Not only will you need to adapt to the different people you’ll be working with, but you also need to communicate in a way they understand. That includes leaving out any jargon that non-medical professionals are unlikely to use (if you’re explaining things to patients or their families) and using empathy and understanding. It’s not about treating people differently because of their background but relating to them and finding common ground.

Communication is about listening too and trying to work through concerns people might have. You may then need to adapt your treatment or be willing to look for something that suits the patient better.

Teamwork and leadership skills

Although a lot of work you do maybe on a one-to-one basis with your patients, it’s important to be able to work in a team. Co-ordinating information with other team members is important for so many reasons. It can help you come up with solutions you might not have considered or make it easier if one member of the healthcare team needs to take on another’s workload in the case of sickness or holiday.

Displaying leadership skills are equally important. Continually encouraging and motivating others, and setting an example to them, makes you the kind of person who is more likely to be considered for promotion and other opportunities as they arise. Whether or not you intend to pursue leadership opportunities, displaying these skills shows that you have the potential to act quickly when needed and help others to do the same. Being a mental health nurse doesn’t always allow for time to wait to consult with others.

Although experience and qualification are the building blocks of what you’ll need to be a mental health nurse, there is a lot more to the role. Hard work, people skills, and quick thinking are just a few of the soft skills you’ll need to succeed.