Nursing Officer Mental Health

Service:Surface Fleet
Humanitarian aid
Officer taking notes

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

Mental Health Nursing in the Royal Navy offers a unique career unlike what you’ll find in the NHS. Our Mental Health teams are critical to maintaining the psychological health and well-being of our personnel, ensuring they are fit to deploy around the world. Routinely, you’d work in one of our Department of Community Mental Health centres in Plymouth, Portsmouth or Faslane in Scotland. As well as carrying out the initial assessments of your patients, we’ll give you extra training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, group therapy and many more to enable you to treat your patients too. We deploy our mental health nurses around the world when required. This could be in support of the Maritime Role 3 capability on board RFA Argus, caring for clinical staff and patients alike. Or you could be part of the Waterfront Logistics Support Group; a network of specialists ready to deploy to ships and units around the world, should the need arise. 

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Help ensure Royal Navy personnel are mentally fit for service, wherever they are in the world
  • Use your nursing skills where they’re needed most. That might be offering community care to returning personnel, or providing occupational mental health assessment, treatment and management on missions all over the world
  • Gain clinical and management experience while taking responsibility for mentoring junior nurses and medical assistants
  • Develop as a practitioner in unique environments that are always challenging and sometimes dangerous

What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • An opportunity to study further at degree or masters level, to top up your professional portfolio
  • You could gain specialist qualifications in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or addiction and substance misuse

Skills you'll develop

  • Unique mental health care, assessment, treatment and management

Career progression

What you'll need


  • You must be aged 20 to 39
  • You need to be a registered Mental Health Nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • You’ll need at least 5 GCSEs at grades A-C (9-4) (or Scottish equivalent), which must include English and Mathematics at grade B/6 or above
  • A National of the United Kingdom, a Commonwealth citizen or Dual National
  • A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18 and 28 (between 17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Pass the Naval Swimming Test

Skills and interests

  • Technical, clinical and interpersonal excellence
  • Decisive with strong independent thinking
  • A caring and compassionate nature

  • Highly organised and able to remain cool under pressure
  • Meticulous attention to detail
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Naval Service Recruitment Test (NRST)

    You’ll be tested on general reasoning, verbal ability, numeracy and mechanical comprehension

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT)

    This involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a certain time, at a fitness centre near you

  • Admiralty Interview Board (AIB)

    This stage is unique to officers and takes place over a day and a half. It’s a competency-based assessment that confirms that you’re physically and mentally ready to become a Royal Navy Officer

  • Nurses Selection Board

    Upon passing you AIB, your application will be reviewed by the Nurses Selection Board for final selection

  • Start training

    Once you’ve passed a Security Check, you’ll be offered a place at Britannia Royal Naval College

Initial training

You’ll spend 30 weeks training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth, focusing on: Military Skills, Maritime Skills and Initial Fleet Time. The military skills phase includes learning leadership and teamwork skills, and the principles of command and management. You will put this into practice during several exercises on Dartmoor.

Aim to get yourself as fit as possible before you arrive. You’ll be doing a lot of physical exercise, and you’ll find it much easier if you’re already in shape.

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

You will then work with one of the Community based Mental Health teams in Portsmouth, Plymouth or Scotland. There you will complete your preceptorship.

You’ll gain qualifications and develop your skills combined with on the job experience. There will also be opportunities to study further at degree or masters level within a mental health specialty.

The opportunities for rapid progression are excellent for all officers. We’ll provide all the feedback, encouragement and training you need to go as far as you want.