MoglieJ
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I am 23 and have just started a new full-time job as a Home Care Worker after years of mindless admin roles as I really want to pursue a nursing degree. I have an interview soon for an Access course at my local college and have been told by both local universities that they would accept the qualifications I have in addition to the Access course.

My question is this. I am very drawn to the Mental Health Nursing degree however, I am worried that I will not have enough work experience to be accepted on to the course. By the time I apply via UCAS later this year, I will have had around 5 months of experience in providing care to adults. I will have had experience of providing care to elderly service users who have dementia (I am aware that this is not a mental health issue).

Has anyone managed to get on to a degree in Nursing with little work experience? I am just looking for advice and experiences really. I am not adverse to applying for the Adult Nursing as I meet the work experience requirements but I am particularly drawn to Mental Health.

Any experience and advice in the comments would be appreciated
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Anneka1990
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My friend and I are doing an Access to Health Professions course, I want to do adult nursing but she wants to do Mental Health. When she went for her interviews she hadn't had any experience doing care at all and managed to get in. I think she just talked about how much she really wanted to be a mental health nurse and for all types of nursing they look for the qualities and values you have as well as taking into account any experience. You might want to try getting some experience working with people with learning difficulties because some of the student nurses when we went to interview mentioned that learning disability nursing and mental health might soon become the same course (don't quote me on that though!).
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username3591496
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I apologise in advance, this is going to be long!


I have not long since had to go through the whole applying/interview process and most of my interviews were in Mental Health Nursing, except for one which was for both adult/mental health. The advice I can give you is this;
- Have an idea of the universities you are going to apply to and thoroughly check everything about them e.g entry requirements, student comments on their interviews etc. The reason for this is because some universities specifically ask for a certain amount of experience in their entry requirements.

- I would suggest trying to get some idea of mental health in some way, maybe voluntary work or bank shifts? I work in a mental health hospital and I have worked in home care and its completely different. A lot of people I have spoken to have unrealistic expectations and to be honest, so did I.

- You not only need to know why you want to be a nurse but also how you can link your skills/knowledge to the profession. Some universities I found did not actually mind the length of experience but how you related that experience. As a quick example; if asked ‘why do you want to be a mental health nurse?’ You could potentially say that you have enjoyed the challenges of caring for individuals with dementia in home care and how this experience in return has improved your decision making skills. This is due to having to decide whether it’s the patients best interest to point out whether they are having an ‘episode’ or not.

- Familiarise yourself with these key terms: best interest, duty of care, person centred care and least restrictive.

- Make mental notes of challenges you have faced and how you have improved because of them. As well as incidents where you have felt you have made a difference for a patient. This is in case you get an interview and you need to relate to an experience.

These are the top things that pop to mind!
Also, don’t worry, you will get into a university. Generally, the more experience the better because sometimes universities will lower their offer expectations for some people due to them having experience.
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mel_l218
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(Original post by MoglieJ)
I am 23 and have just started a new full-time job as a Home Care Worker after years of mindless admin roles as I really want to pursue a nursing degree. I have an interview soon for an Access course at my local college and have been told by both local universities that they would accept the qualifications I have in addition to the Access course.

My question is this. I am very drawn to the Mental Health Nursing degree however, I am worried that I will not have enough work experience to be accepted on to the course. By the time I apply via UCAS later this year, I will have had around 5 months of experience in providing care to adults. I will have had experience of providing care to elderly service users who have dementia (I am aware that this is not a mental health issue).

Has anyone managed to get on to a degree in Nursing with little work experience? I am just looking for advice and experiences really. I am not adverse to applying for the Adult Nursing as I meet the work experience requirements but I am particularly drawn to Mental Health.

Any experience and advice in the comments would be appreciated
Hi, I’m a mature (26) adult nursing student (first year). I’d recommend reading up on both mental health nursing and adult nursing and visiting open days at your local universities too. See what interests you in both branches and what sort of role you would want to work in once qualified.
Dementia is an area that mental health nurses (and other mental health professionals) are involved in. So your experience is relevant to mental health.
Some student nurses on my course have no hands on care experience or very little so don’t think you don’t have a chance. The universities are looking at your whole application, not just experience in care.
I hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions.
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MoglieJ
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(Original post by mel_l218)
Hi, I’m a mature (26) adult nursing student (first year). I’d recommend reading up on both mental health nursing and adult nursing and visiting open days at your local universities too. See what interests you in both branches and what sort of role you would want to work in once qualified.
Dementia is an area that mental health nurses (and other mental health professionals) are involved in. So your experience is relevant to mental health.
Some student nurses on my course have no hands-on care experience or very little so don’t think you don’t have a chance. The universities are looking at your whole application, not just experience in care.
I hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions.
Thanks for your reply Mel I was aware that dementia is an area that mental health nurses are involved in, but was not sure whether this would count towards my work experience as I am not helping them with their mental health directly but I am assisting them so that they can live independently. I am glad to hear that it would be relevant work experience.

If you don't mind me asking, what drew you to adult nursing? I really like the sound of clinical and surgical nursing placements as much as I like the sound of mental health nursing so I am just trying to find out more about each route by reading about people's own experiences. Also, if you have had a placement yet how do they normally balance out with the theory days at university? I think one of the main things I would be worried about is coming across well in group interviews at uni.
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mel_l218
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(Original post by MoglieJ)
Thanks for your reply Mel I was aware that dementia is an area that mental health nurses are involved in, but was not sure whether this would count towards my work experience as I am not helping them with their mental health directly but I am assisting them so that they can live independently. I am glad to hear that it would be relevant work experience.

If you don't mind me asking, what drew you to adult nursing? I really like the sound of clinical and surgical nursing placements as much as I like the sound of mental health nursing so I am just trying to find out more about each route by reading about people's own experiences. Also, if you have had a placement yet how do they normally balance out with the theory days at university? I think one of the main things I would be worried about is coming across well in group interviews at uni.
Hi, lots of things drew me to adult nursing, I used to volunteer in the emergency department of my local hospital and first aid trained in a previous job which attracted me to emergency care. I’m interested in sexual health & practice nursing. I used to work full time in a care home (still do on the bank). So lots of adult nursing things interested me and I thought adult nursing was the best fit for me personally.
At my university, we have separate periods of time at university for theory and out on practice in placement. Some universities do a mixture of days a uni, days at placement but you can normally find out on the website or at open days if they do a mixture or separate it.
We are full time on placement (37.5 hrs a week) but only in university 2-3 days a week for theory (but you have to add in self-study and assignment/revision time)
Group interviews are actually okay-if you search the forum you can see previous posts or see interview advice here: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5084328
If you just be polite, friendly, listen to others and contribute to the conversation or task you will come across great. They just want to see that you work well in a team/with others.
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