Careers in mental health – interview with Credentialed Mental Health Nurse Alison Hansen

Hear from Nurse Alison Hansen about the insights into the reality of work within the mental health sector industry.


My name is Alison Hanson and I'm a Credential Mental Health Nurse and a Senior Lecturer at Monash University. I worked as a Mental Health Nurse in the area of forensic mental health nursing, and then I moved across into the academic or the tertiary education system and I've been at Monash now for five years.

I would highly recommend mental health nursing to anyone that's thinking about joining the profession, and I would start by picking up the phone, calling someone like me or attending a university open day and having a conversation about how you might be able to pursue a career in mental health.

To be a really good Mental Health Nurse, you need to have excellent communication skills to be able to communicate well with service users and people that you work with.

So members of the interdisciplinary team. I also think that you need to be genuinely curious when you are working as a Mental Health Nurse to be able to form those deep relationships with people and and be curious about what they have to say, why they are where they are at the moment, and how you can help them through their recovery journey.

There are heaps of areas of mental health nursing practice from working as a Mental Health Nurse at a high school to working in a hospital or a community setting across a variety of different subspecialties I guess like forensic mental health nursing, for example, which is what I specialised in.

And then you have that I guess, extra ability to specialise in particular types of interventions that you get to use when you're working with people in the area of mental health nursing as well.

So things like specialising in psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy, for example, or even working with people with alcohol and other drug or substance use problems.

Mental health nursing is an extremely rewarding career, and I would recommend to any school leaver to consider mental health nursing as an option for you.

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Read our fact sheet with Credentialed Mental Health Nurse Alison Hansen, to learn more about a career in mental health.

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