Essay Writing Example for Mental Health Nursing Students: Ask Study Coach Blog

In this Ask Study Coach Blog, the spotlight is on Mental Health Nursing Students and Essay Writing. Study Coach provides some ideas in this blog to help Mental Health Nursing students with Essay Writing. The ideas presented after the Ask Study Coach Questions and Answers section are not mean’t to be simply copied and presented as students’ own work. The ideas are offered to help guide students, to help students spark ideas, and for students to gain further understanding about the role of the Mental Health Nurse.


Question: The majority of my course is practical, how important are writing skills?

Answer: The aim of a course is to learn new skills, writing assignments is part of the learning journey, in fact it is an essential part of the journey, even if the majority of the course is practical. Students should develop writing skills, extend language skills, pay attention to the assessment criteria, don’t become reliant on copying and pasting evidence (this is never a good idea).  

Question: What is the purpose of the assessment criteria for essay writing?

Answer: The assessment criteria, sometimes referred to as learning outcomes will help students to structure their essay. The criteria provide guidance of what is required to produce a good standard of work. Students are advised to read the criteria and accompanied guidance first before starting to plan an essay. If you don’t know what you need to satisfy, then you won’t be able to effectively plan an essay. 

Question: What is the use of the marking scheme?

Answer: The marking scheme for the assignment should be read to ensure that you have an understanding of what is descriptive work and what is mean’t by discursive work. Descriptive work indicates lower level learning, students should aim to become discursive when writing essays. 

Question: Is the role of the Mental Health Nurse same as Psychiatric Nursing?

Answer:  The role of the Mental Health Nurse is specific and does differ from psychiatric nursing. In all areas of nursing therapeutic care is important and so values must be considered, mental health is usually associated with behavioural issues, so some of the challenges nursing staff are likely to encounter in their day-to-day work should also be considered.  

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Question: What is the role of the Mental Health Nurse?

Answer: The Mental Health Nurse works as part of a team; the nurse collaborate with psychiatrists and doctors; the nurse assist patients to take their medications and help patients with grooming and dressing; the mental health nurse is involved with the patient’s care plan. The mental health nurse therefore takes on a supportive role to assist the psychiatrists and doctors. The nurse will also be involved with the patient’s psychiatric history and will note that psychiatric history is structured differently to medical history.

Question: Is it important to know about the roles of other health professionals?

Answer: It is good to have an insight into other areas of nursing, particularly if you hope to work in a multi-disciplinary team; to be informed of other health professional roles will be advantageous to your own practice. 

Question: Can the Mental Health Nurse prescribe drugs? 

Answer: The mental health nurse is not a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or psychiatric nurse. The mental health nurse is not qualified to prescribe psychiatric drugs, though it must be said that some Mental Health degree holders, may have undertaken supplementary training to deliver different therapies or even to prescribe psychiatric drugs. The mental health degree holders would therefore have made a transition into another area of nursing and should not be identified as mental health nurses. 

Ideas for Essay Writing – Mental Health Nurse Role

If you need to write about the role of the Mental Health Nurse, it is important to point out that the Mental Health nurse’s prime function is to keep patients and others safe. The nurse works in a supportive role providing medical treatment in a hospital setting and helps to manage the physical and social environment; the nurse helps people who are mentally ill to become mentally healthy.  Mental health nursing suggests that there is focus on health promotion, where the nurse takes a holistic approach to his/her work, and that approach is guided by evidence. The Mental Health Nurse must build good relations with patients and with patients families. The nurse will help individuals and their families to find ways to cope and to help people to explore opportunities for recovery and personal growth, and this is achieved through the medium of a therapeutic relationship. 

Essay Writing Guidance – Compassionate Nursing

Nurses will operate within nursing values (NMC); meaning to treat patients as persons, considering their needs and interests and treat people with dignity and worth. The mental health nurse should therefore develop a therapeutic relationship that is respectful of the individuals’ choices and circumstances. This involves building on the patient’s strengths in order to promote their recovery. Therefore in line with nursing principles the mental health nurse should provide compassionate support (Barker, 2000). In your essay discussion it should be pointed out that the need for compassionate care should never be underestimated when caring for mental health patients. Mosher (2004) says, compassionate caring, without the use of psychiatric drugs, can help people grow and develop even for those with illnesses such as schizophrenia.  

Law and Nursing:

Prior to offering drugs the Mental Health Nurse should provide patients with a full explanation of any risks; failure to explain risks to patients would be dishonest, unethical and illegal. Forcing patients to take medication is against the principles of nursing; furthermore the use of any coercive or constraining practices such as control and restraint or seclusion is not holistic practice. 

If a mental health nurse is asked to assist in coercive practices, then this should cause some problems for the nurse, since this task would fall outside of the nursing role. The nurse could also have a legal case brought against him/her, for forcing a patient against his will. The nurse should always keep in mind that the purpose of nursing is to help people live their lives in the way the patient sees fit, even if the patient is deemed to have irrational thinking. 


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