Mental health nursing in 1980s — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Mental health nursing in 1980s

Did you have to train as an RN before you trained as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in the 1980s? Have I got the titles right? Or could you just start training as a RMHN in a mental hospital straight away. Could student nurses then give depot injections or did they have to qualify first?  Did female staff nurses in their blue uniforms work on mental wards? Can anybody tell me this? Kind regards, Rodney.


  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 11,103 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @RodneyTaylor - & welcome to the community, Rodney. I'm sorry I can't answer your query other than to say I worked as a physio in a large mental health hospital with over 1300 patients in the 1980s. The sisters & staff nurses were all RNs; I don't know if they had to undergo further training to work in mental health. There were many nursing auxillaries, who used to wear a pale blue & white checked uniform, who weren't RNs. It was easier for a nursing auxilliary to get a position working with those with mental health issues than to work in a general hospital then.
    Staff nurses certainly worked in the mental health hospital I worked for. I have no idea if student nurses gave depot injections, sorry. I would imagine they would have had to be at least initially supervised.
    Might I ask why you're querying this?
  • RodneyTaylor
    RodneyTaylor Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hello Chiarieds! Thank you for your reply. I am asking about this because I am writing a novel and one of the characters trains as a nurse in a mental hospital in Leeds. It is set in 1987. If anyone can come up with the answers to my questions, I would be very grateful. I have not been able to do this on Google.
  • RodneyTaylor
    RodneyTaylor Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hello everyone! I have a further question. Did you have to get A-Levels in the 1980s before you could train as an RN? Kind regards  Rodney.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,951 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi I am sorry I dont have an answer for you, but maybe if you got a contact number for the Royal College of nursing or an email they may be able to give you some help, or you may find something in the library

    I Surprised you cant find anything on google7

    I hope other members may be able to help you
    I have professional experience in HR within public,  private, and charity sectors.  If I can help I will 
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 11,103 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi again @RodneyTaylor - I doubt nurses had to have A levels in the 1980s. Most nurses attended a hospital school linked to their nearest city hospital. There were State Enrolled nurses, & State Registered nurses, the former having lesser qualifications.
    I qualified as a physio in the late 1970s, & then you had to be 21 by the time you finished your 3 & a quarter years of study. Whilst they hoped you had continued studying until 18 as they thought if you hadn't done so this might then mean you might have difficulty resuming study & completing the physio course, it wasn't compulsory. So then even potential physio students didn't have to have A level qualifications.
    You might like to look into Project 2000; I believe nursing changed the late 1980s or later. There's a little info here:


Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.