University to host Mental Health Nursing Showcase to encourage more into profession

Photo: RGU Gatehouse Photography

ROBERT Gordon University is to host a Mental Health Nursing Showcase to encourage more people from the North East into the profession.

Organisers hope to attract school or college leavers, or anyone thinking of a change of career or return to education, along to the event which will take place at RGU’s School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedic Practice on 1 May.

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The event comes as NHS Grampian, like other healthcare areas across Scotland face a shortage of mental health nurses that is affecting care across the community.

In November last year, the Scottish Government published its Mental Health & Wellbeing Workforce Action Plan which outlined plans to support the sector over the next 18 months. It highlighted the need to support skills in the sector, including a need for more alternative pathways and entry points or training opportunities into mental health and wellbeing careers.

RGU’s Mental Health Nursing Showcase will highlight opportunities available to anyone considering their next steps and to those who might want to explore their options in Nursing. It will also give people the opportunity to meet mental health nurses at different stages of their careers, including students, newly qualified registered nurses, and experienced mental health nurses, educators and leaders.

Scott Macpherson, Lecturer in Mental Health at RGU, who will be attending the Mental Health Showcase, said: “Vacancies for mental health nurse positions across Scotland have more than doubled in the past 7 years and around 9% of mental health nursing posts were vacant at this point last year. Here in the North East of Scotland, the situation is no different. There are simply not enough mental health nurses in the region to fill the vacancies that exist. Simply put, we need more mental health nurses.

“The answer to this problem seems to be to produce more mental health nurses through our universities, but the truth is that not enough people are applying to study mental health nursing. The number of people choosing to study mental health nursing is failing to keep pace with the demand for mental health nurses in Scotland.  This is a worry for people who need access to mental health care, as a lack of nurses could mean poorer care and poorer outcomes for those in most need.

“If we continue to under-recruit to mental health nursing courses and fail to fill mental health nursing positions, mental health care will suffer. This will lead to unacceptable experiences and outcomes for individuals but will also have a wider impact on the local economy, particularly when people are unable to work due to their mental health struggles. It is therefore vitally important that we prioritise mental health and support people to be healthy so that they are fit to work in our local organisations, services, and industries to boost our local economy.”

Professor Susan Dawkes, Dean for the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedic Practice said: “RGU is working closely with NHS Grampian as well as Scottish Government to identify ways to welcome more people into Mental Health Nursing. A career in mental health nursing offers such opportunity in terms of career prospects but also in terms of satisfaction in that you have an opportunity to truly make a difference to people’s lives on a daily basis.

“We are really looking forward to hosting our Mental Health Showcase and hope to demonstrate how fulfilling, challenging and stimulating a career mental health nursing can be. We will be able to offer advice on how to prepare applications for a future career in mental health nursing and highlight opportunities and support available at RGU.”

Figures published by the Nuffield Trust on behalf of the NHS Confederation last May highlighted that mental health nursing vacancies remain stubbornly high and account for nearly a third of all nursing vacancies across the country. There is a clear acknowledgement that the increase in mental health nurse numbers continues to lag behind adult and children’s nursing.

RGU is the main provider of nursing, midwifery & paramedic education in the North East of Scotland and is leading a ‘Celebration of Nursing’ campaign to encourage more people into the sector.

Learn more: Turn to Nursing – Mental Health Nursing Showcase Experience | May 2024 | Events | RGU.

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