The Critical Practitioner - Mental Health Nursing

The details
Health and Social Care (School of)
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Tuesday 22 April 2025
Friday 27 June 2025
07 November 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MSCIB770 Nursing (Dual Award in Adult and Mental Health),
MSCIB770SO Nursing (Dual Award in Adult and Mental Health)

Module description

This module advances learning around compassionate, clinical leadership in mental health nursing.

Students will consider the accountabilities and human consequences associated with their own and others' leadership decisions at the point of care. They will be supported to explore the complexities and uncertainties of clinical situations. Students will critically examine how the 'quality' of care is defined, measured and audited, and the impact of these measurements on the lived experiences of people. They will reflect upon their own professional development needs and proactively plan their own development.

Module aims

This module enables students to critically advance their role as an autonomous mental health nurse, accountable for leading and managing the care of groups of people in complex and uncertain situations.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

1. Demonstrate critical application of leadership and management theories and principles to prioritise care for a group of mental health service users in complex and unpredictable situations
2. Comply with and critically analyse legislation, regulations and policies for assessing, managing and reporting and documenting risks, and critical incidents specific to mental healthcare settings
3. Demonstrate autonomy in decision-making when leading and managing complex situations in mental healthcare settings.
4. Demonstrate critical awareness of interprofessional teamwork and how leadership impacts upon the function of an effective interprofessional team
5. Critically reflect on the role of mental health nursing leaders in shaping safety and organisational culture of mental healthcare services
6. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of how prescriptions are generated, the role of generic, unlicensed and off-label prescribing, and the risks associated with these prescribing approaches as commonly used in mental health care settings

Module information

* Understanding and applying the principles for making reasonable adjustments
* Understanding the responsibilities of the registered mental health nurse in medicine management including the role of generic, unlicensed and off label prescribing and the associated risks
* Planning and managing safe discharge and transfer of patients between care settings
* The principles of effective and authentic clinical leadership in mental health nursing contexts
* Group, team and organisational dynamics
* Prioritisation and delegation of care needs
* The integration and influence of health legislation and policies in decision-making and leadership
* Measuring quality of care and the performative use of metrics
* Maintaining safe work and care environments
* Skill mix and safe staffing in mental health nursing contexts
* Managing and reporting risk in clinical settings where mental health nurses work
* Major incidents in mental health nursing contexts

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures and flipped classroom Interactive lectures from keynote speakers and clinicians (shared with adult nursing students) will introduce the principles, concepts and models of leadership, quality improvement and governance. Online learning objects, including videos from managers, leaders and people with lived experience, will be used to prepare students for lecture activities. Tutorials Opportunities to apply the principles to a series of field specific case studies in action learning sets (both face to face and virtual) will be co-facilitated by clinicians and academic staff who hold, or have held, clinical leadership roles. Tutorials will be delivered separately for Level 6 and Level 7 students. Simulated practice Opportunities will be offered for students to participate in simulated activities to rehearse leadership activities in complex and ambiguous situations, in the safety of a simulated environment. Selected scenarios will be accessible to Level 7 students only. Differentiation from level 6 Approximately 75% of this level 7 variant of HS241 will be co-delivered with students following a level 6 variant, where there is shared, field-specific learning required to achieve the professional standards of proficiency and learning outcomes. 25% of contact hours will be delivered separately to level 6 and level 7 students, where level 7 students will focus specifically on advanced and critical reflection on the application and implementation of leadership frameworks aligned to learning outcomes.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Mental Health Nursing (Southend): Summative assignment      

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Miss Sally Barbrook, email: sally.barbrook@essex.ac.uk.



External examiner

Dr Rosemarie Derwin
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Programme Director/ Lecturer
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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