GD158 - Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing

Go to Enrolment Program Structures Search

Plan: GD158DE - Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing
Campus: Bundoora Campus


Program details
Purpose of the Program
Articulation and pathways
Entrance requirements
External accreditation and industry links
Student expenses and charges in addition to fees
Library, IT and specialist resources

Program details

Award title: Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing
Award abbreviation: GradDipMentHNurs
Total credit points: 96
Career: PGRD
Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Location: Bundoora Campus
Owning school: Health and Biomedical Sciences (173H)
Owning school URL:
ASCED code: 060305
CRICOS code:

*Top of page

Purpose of the Program

The Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing prepares you for specialty mental health nursing practise beyond base grade roles. You will be exposed to a range of blended learning and teaching activities which include online learning, face-to-face lectures and tutorial sessions. All lectures are video recorded to enhance the flexible, multimode (on campus or external)  delivery of this program. RMIT University’s discipline of nursing and midwifery is one of the oldest providers of nursing education in Australia.

As a graduate of the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing you will be able to demonstrate advanced, evidence-based mental health nursing disciplinary knowledge, skills and their application. You will be well placed to identify and address contemporary and emerging issues that influence current and future mental health nursing practice. The development of counselling, leadership, research appraisal and scholarship capabilities are all reflected in the design of the program structure and associated learning and teaching approaches and activities.

The purpose of the program is to enable you to:

  • Discover the similarities and differences in theoretical stance and philosophical thought underpinning the various counselling approaches used in contemporary mental health practice.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of self as a therapeutic tool when engaging in the process of individual counselling and group therapy.
  • Explore historical and contemporary notions of mental health, mental illness and human responses to the experience of mental illness
  • Review psychiatric classification systems of mental disorders in current use
  • Develop professional competency in the administration of the Mental Status Examination (MSE) for individuals within the context of a culturally diverse population.
  • Examine critically the notions of substance abuse, dual diagnosis and co-morbidity in relation to mental health nursing practice 
  • Consider the appropriate longitudinal application of Psycho-therapeutic interventions, Psychopharmacological considerations and holistic management of clients with mental illness and their families in a variety of contexts - including emergency, acute and long-term care
  • Explore consumer and carer perspectives on contemporary classification and management of the mentally ill in relation to consumer rights, respect and dignity
  • Examine critically the assessment processes used in assessing the mental health status of clients with mental illness.
  • Explore the context within which contemporary nursing and health care research is undertaken.
  • Discuss the ethical and legal responsibilities of mental health nursing research and practice

You can enrol in GD158 as a stand-alone program. Alternatively, if you are enrolled in MC268 Master of Mental Health and elect to terminate your enrolment after successful completion of Year 1 (96 credit points), you will be eligible for the award of the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health (GD158).

*Top of page

Articulation and pathways

Upon successful completion of the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing you may be eligible to undertake further studies in related programs at RMIT University subject to the individual entry requirements of those programs.

For further program details refer to the RMIT University Handbook [].

Graduates of GD158 Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing are eligible to seek 96 credit points of credit transfer towards MC268 Master of Mental Health. 

*Top of page

Entrance requirements

Entry requirements:

A Bachelor of Nursing (BN) degree, or equivalent, or a Bachelor Degree in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing from an approved higher education institution. 

And a current registration (or be eligible for registration) as a Registered Nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia


evidence you are completing a graduate year in mental health nursing whilst a Registered Nurse


have completed 840 hours of supervised clinical practice as a Registered Nurse in the field of mental health nursing

Please Note:

For registration, International applicants will need to meet the English language IELTS score of 7.0 in all bands required by AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).

*Top of page

External accreditation and industry links

Mental health nurses eligible to join a professional organisation such as the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses ( are able to cite successful completion of the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing as part of their application for credentialing.

The Mental Health Nurse Credential recognises the qualifications, skills, expertise and experience of nurses who are practising as specialist mental health nurses. It demonstrates to employers, professional colleagues, consumers and carers that an individual nurse has achieved the professional standard for practice in mental health nursing. The Credential also increases awareness of the contribution mental health nurses make to the mental health of the community.

The GD158 Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing Program Learning Outcomes are based on the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) Credentialing Guidelines. In order to meet the requirements and standards for a credential, you must provide evidence of the following: 

A current licence to practice as a registered nurse in Australia 
A specialist or post-graduate mental health nursing/psychiatric nursing qualification 
12 months experience since having undertaken a specialist/postgraduate qualification; or a minimum of 3 years experience as a registered nurse in mental health 
Recent practice in mental health 
Continuing professional education and practice development in the preceding 3 years. 
Support from two referees who are familiar with your practice and your credentialing application. 

Once assessed, and if approved, a 3-year credential is awarded and you will be entitled to use the title Mental Health Nurse (MHN). The award means you are formally recognised by the ACMHN as a specialist mental health nurse.

The ACMHN Standards of Practice guide the program content and desired outcomes -

Credentialing is a core component of clinical/professional governance or self regulation where members of a profession set standards for practice and establish a minimum requirement for entry, continuing professional development, endorsement and recognition.

The Credential for Practice Program is an initiative of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and has established the only national consistent recognition for specialist mental health nurses.

Credentialed mental health nurses can be funded for employment under the Commonwealth Government Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP). The MHNIP funds community based general practices, private psychiatric practices and other appropriate organisations to employ mental health nurses to help provide coordinated clinical care for people with severe and persistent mental disorders.

Credentialled mental health nurses who are registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia can also obtain a Medicare Provider number that supports development of their own private practice and they can practise in any Australian state or territory. 

Applicants should note that the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has determined that all international student applicants for registration must be able to demonstrate English language skills at IELTS academic level 7 or the equivalent. For further details visit

The Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing is conducted in collaboration with a wide variety of Mental Health industry partners.To enter this program you must be currently employed in a mental health specialty area under the supervsion of a mental health nurse or have completed at least 840  hours of supervised clinical mental health nursing practice. 

The program maintains a strong Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) consisting of representation from the Industry and the broader community.

*Top of page

Student expenses and charges in addition to fees

Once you are enrolled as a student in this program you will need to allow for expenses other than university tuition fees.  Additional expenses may relate to the purchase of lecture notes, textbooks, stationery, consumables such as printer paper, fees levied by commercial internet service providers for internet access outside of the university campus, and other relevant costs.

*Top of page

Library, IT and specialist resources

Library resources and services

As a student enrolled in a program at RMIT University you can access the extensive services, facilities and study space provided by the Library. You can access books, journals and other course related materials, such as DVDs, past exams, newspapers and e-books. Through our document delivery service you can also request items from any library in the world.

Computers for study are available at every Library site, where you can access the Internet, myRMIT ( or Library e-resources. If you have a laptop you can access the RMIT University wireless network in the Library.

Library staff can show you how to find information for your assignments or you can work through web-based tutorials or use our online Ask a Librarian service.

The Library is continually expanding our electronic collections to make it easier for you to get the information you need when you need it. All RMIT University students have unlimited access to quality electronic resources such as, e-books, e-journals and newspapers.

You can find more information on Library resources and services at: A subject guide is available at

The library has been purchasing the texts and required resources for the courses in this program.  It  has an excellent range of electronic resources to support the program, and most of these resources are accessible via the library website allowing access by all students whatever their location.  A range of textbooks and references are available for you to borrow.  In addition, many academics have their notes printed for distribution to on-line students.  These notes are also available from the RMIT Bookshop at a very affordable cost for local students.

Online learning tools and content

You can access online learning tools and content for your program and associated courses at myRMIT:

You will be able to access course information and learning materials through myRMIT  and the RMIT Library, and will be provided with copies of additional materials in class or via email.  Lists of relevant reference texts, resources in the library and freely accessible Internet sites will be provided

Services available to you as a student at RMIT University

RMIT University provides a wide range of resources and opportunities to assist your learning and wellbeing so you can achieve your study and career goals.

Services are available face to face and online assisting with:

  • transition to tertiary study and learning
  • study skills, academic skills including literacy, mathematics and basic sciences if relevant
  • enabling assistance if you have a disability, long term medical condition or other form of disadvantage which may impact on your learning
  • career development and employment
  • living and wellbeing (including advice on health, housing and financial matters)
  • opportunities for scholarships, leadership and study abroad
  • opportunities for participating in arts, sport, recreation, fitness activities as well as student activism and university governance

We also offer a friendly and supportive environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

You can find more information at:

*Top of page
[Next: Learning outcomes]