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The role and responsibilities of a community mental health nurse

The role and responsibilities of a community mental health nurse

Community mental health nurses – also known as community psychiatric nurses – play a vital role in delivering healthcare outside of hospital settings. When working in this rewarding yet challenging position, it’s important to have a mix of clinical and interpersonal skills and be a great communicator with a high degree of empathy, patience and personal resilience.

At the Guild, our mental health nurses are available at short notice to provide support within community teams. In this blog, we have looked at the roles and responsibilities that community mental health nurses have in both agency and permanent roles, along with the patient groups they support and the settings they work within. We have also outlined the mental health nursing placements available to you within the community here at the Guild.

What does a community mental health nurse do?

Community mental health nurses deliver a range of medical and nursing therapies, as well as physical assistance, to support patient recovery.

The role involves reviewing, treating, and monitoring patients of all ages with various conditions, from anxiety and depression to eating disorders. Building good relationships based on trust is essential as you support patients at every step of their recovery. Supporting parents, partners and other caregivers is also an important part of the role, which includes establishing strong relationships and helping them develop their confidence as they deliver day-to-day support.

As a community mental health nurse, your daily roles and responsibilities can include:

  1. Administering medicines/making sure clients are taking their medicines correctly
  2. Aggression reduction
  3. Conducting risk assessments and helping to keep people and their families safe
  4. Ensuring legal compliance
  5. Helping patients and their families deal with the stigma around mental health
  6. Helping patients navigate their way through the health system
  7. Helping patients talk about their problems and access therapeutic activities
  8. Keeping good records, including reviewing and monitoring care plans
  9. Liaising with other healthcare professionals
  10. Offering practical advice and educating people about their condition
  11. Reporting back on a patient’s progress at case conferences
  12. Reviewing/assessing, planning, monitoring, and responding to a patient’s clinical care needs
  13. Suicide prevention
  14. Visiting patients in their homes

You’ll be part of a primary care team that supports people in their own homes and other local mental health facilities. In many cases, you will be the patient’s first point of contact.

Who do community mental health nurses support?

Around one in three people experience a mental health illness at some point in their lives. Community mental health nurses support people and their families when they are at their most vulnerable. You can work with a range of people, which may include:

  • Those experiencing their first mental health crisis
  • People who need support at home to prevent a hospital admission
  • People who have been discharged from hospital
  • Those with long-term mental illnesses who need ongoing care and support

The patients you support will depend on the team and service you are part of. If you take on agency roles in community mental health, you will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of people within many different settings. This can help you to gain experience and broaden your skillset quickly.

As you progress in your career, you can specialise in working with specific groups of people, such as children and adolescents, older people or young offenders. You may also choose to focus on working with people who have specific conditions or disorders, such as eating disorders, dementia or addiction issues.

Where can community mental health nurses work?

As a community mental health nurse, you can work in various settings, including:

  • Healthcare centres
  • Education, employment, and housing settings
  • GP surgeries
  • Patients’ homes
  • Prisons
  • Residential centres

Within each of these environments, your role will often be to provide people with the assessments, care and interventions that they need, so that they are supported in their own homes and environments with which they are familiar.

As an agency community mental health nurse with the Guild, you can work across many different settings within a short period of time, as you take on different short-term placements.

Working as a community mental health nurse with the Guild

The Guild is looking for exceptional community mental health nurses and community psychiatric nurses across Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland to join the team. With the Guild, you have the opportunity to:

  • Support those who need care at home or in the community
  • Provide continuity of care to service users
  • Work in different areas, from crisis intervention to one-to-one support

If you are interested in joining, read more about our excellent nursing agency pay rates and discover the reasons why nurses enjoy working with us. We’re looking for agency workers who can pick up last-minute placements, deliver high-quality care and integrate into teams and services easily.

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