Mental Health Nursing : Acute Care


This module explores the issues relating to the acute presentation of mental health problems, considering the journey of care the person might make from the initial emergence of mental health problems within the community, through the admission process into hospital based care.


The aim of this module is to provide the student with an understanding of the needs, care and treatment of the person experiencing acute mental health problems, including those looked after in the forensic mental health system.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Discuss the impact of acute mental health problems on the person, their family and wider social network.

2.  Discuss care and treatment needs of the person experiencing acute mental health difficulties.

3.  Demonstrate an understanding of the policy frameworks within which acute mental health care is delivered.

4.  Demonstrate an understanding of the specific mental health needs of people within the forensic mental health system.

5.  Demonstrate an understanding of good practice specific to acute inpatient settings.

Indicative Content

1 Presentation of acute mental health problems

Assessment of acute presentations; relapse signatures and early warning signs; early intervention; eating disorders; drug and alcohol misuse and dual diagnosis; the impact on family, carers and social network; personal accounts. Approaches to working with delusions and hallucinations. Working with the acutely depressed person. Responding to anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD) and panic attack.

2 Care and treatment needs of acutely mentally ill people

Assessment including: care planning, risk assessment; alternatives to acute inpatient care; crisis resolution; intensive home treatment; assertive outreach; peer led crisis centres; motivational interviewing; psychological approaches; medication; ECT. Advanced intervention.

3 Policy and legislation relevant to acute and forensic men

Mental Health (Care and Treatment)(Scotland) Act 2003; Human Rights legislation; best practice guidance; SIGN and NICE guidelines; the Care Programme Approach. Mental Health Strategy for Scotland (2012-2015)

4 Mental health needs of forensic service users

Risk assessment and management; co-created safety plans and positive risk taking; antisocial personality disorder; psychopathy; structure of services for mentally ill offenders; theories of violence; gender based violence; self harm; therapy-containment; therapeutic interventions with specific groups of offenders e.g. sex offenders; child sexual abuse and trauma; liaison and diversion services in criminal justice

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The teaching, learning and assessment strategy associated with this module aims to enable students to develop their knowledge of the field of mental health nursing; emphasising the value of collaboration, creative and flexible approaches to learning will be adopted to support the development of a secure knowledge base. Teaching / knowledge creation / acquisition will be through independent inquiry, group discussion, online directed study, working in small groups, scenario based work, development of presentations as well as the more traditional lectures and tutorials. Online resources, such as the class wiki, digital stories or 'talking heads', and autobiographical literature will be used to engage learners and promote understanding. The module draws on a range of resources to explore the lived experience of crisis, forensic and acute care.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 12
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Supervised Practical Activity 6
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 20
Independent 150

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/20 , and may be subject to change for future years.