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Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing

Graduate Diploma

Course snapshot

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The Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing is a completely online course designed specifically for registered nurses who wish to increase their specialist knowledge and employment outcomes in mental health.

The course reflects contemporary mental health research and policy and has been designed with the input of leading clinical and academic mental health professionals.

Core units include contemporary mental health theory and practice, physical care, common interventions within acute care contexts, in primary mental health and in a range of health care settings.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. This year we are joining the WHO in celebrating the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, by sharing the stories and successes of the Southern Cross nursing and midwifery community.

Course Learning Outcome

Critically evaluates and integrates models of treatment relevant to the care continuum, to inform co-constructed personalized care strategies which meet the consumer’s life needs as well as health needs.

Generates/translates novel information or theories, making a substantial contribution to the discipline through scholarly activities.

Engages creatively in therapeutic relationships with mental health consumers their families and significant others, which are characterized by co-construction of care and collaborative engagement.

Critically appraises the nature and extent of influences (social, political, economic and organizational) to overcome constraints in negotiation of options for clinical interventions.

Advocates for mental health consumers, challenging discrimination and public discourse, minimising stigma through the use of positive portrayal and working toward social inclusion and independence.

Interrogates and challenges the concepts of risk and safety from the basis of consumer centred care considering social protection, legal, moral and ethical principles to balance risk in recovery.

Exercises expert/enhanced clinical judgement and decision-making and insight in novel situations in specialist mental health disciplines in pursuit of optimal consumer outcomes.

Negotiates and executes the role of chosen mental health discipline in a multidisciplinary and multi-professional approach.

Consistently demonstrates a high level of autonomy, accountability, adaptability and responsibility in self-directed work and learning.

Engages in and leads others in collaborative critical reflection on clinical practice and achievement of lifelong learning outcomes.

Develops and maintains partnerships in care (individually and with groups) with mental health consumers and their families which focuses on the recipient of care, the person’s right to choice and self-determination, and the person’s inherent capacity for recovery.

Consistently and judiciously uses information technology, compelling and authoritative written and verbal communications.

Respects individual worldviews and enhances their own critical thinking to lead others in challenging assumptions underpinning world views.

Adjusts clinical practices to incorporate consumer’s cultural perspectives into mental health planning and interventions.

Location Teaching period UAC code QTAC code
SCU Online Study Period 1 , Study Period 2 , Study Period 3 , Study Period 4 , Study Period 5 , Study Period 6 N/A N/A

Career Outcomes

This course has received provisional accreditation from the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses pending the first graduate of the course.


We encourage you to apply for the courses you most want to study. If you are not eligible to enter your chosen course right now, our team will work with you to find the best pathway option.

Before applying, make sure you double check all entry requirements, gather required documentation and review the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, noting any specifics listed below.

Course requirements

To be eligible to receive the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing, students must complete the equivalent of 8 units (96 credit points), comprising all 8 core units.

Exit Award:

Students may be eligible to exit with the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing after completing the equivalent of 4 units (48 credit points), comprising any 4 of the first 6 core units.

Course structure

Unit Code Unit Title Notes

Core Units

MHNS5001 Contemporary Mental Health
MHNS5002 Mental Health Across the Lifespan
MHNS6002 Mental Health in Community, Non-Government and Primary Health Settings
MHNS5003 Acute Mental Health
MHNS5004 Supporting Behaviour Change in Mental Health Contexts
MHNS6004 Physical Health Care in Mental Health
Students may be eligible to exit with the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing after completing any 4 of the above 6 units.
PBHL6004 Appraising Evidence
PBHL5006 Healthcare Professional Portfolio A