MH0512 - Theory Module 4: Perspectives of Complex Care in Mental Health Nursing

What will I learn on this module?

Within this module you will explore the concepts, principles and perspectives of complex care in mental health nursing. You will be encouraged to critically explore contemporary theoretical perspectives and approaches, focussing upon recovery model principles, and the application to the individualised needs of the person receiving care and support including their family / carer.

You will explore more nuanced understandings of aetiology, including exploring iatrogenic and salutogenic causation; the ‘adverse childhood experiences’ literature and understanding the neurobiological impact of trauma and the subsequent reciprocal impact on the physical, psychological and the social being- who is situated within a social network. You will explore how complex mental health needs are supported within legal, professional and clinical frameworks from the Mental Health Act, the Care Programme Approach and on to more advanced clinical formulation. Collaborative partnerships with other professionals and agencies are integral to working practice in this area of mental health nursing to ensure safe and effective care.

You will critically consider competing perspectives in relation to traditional models of care and more contemporary approaches such as recovery focussed and coaching approaches’. Utilising an assets-based approach, you will develop an understanding of ‘humanistic inter-personal approaches to care by co-creating the therapeutic relationship across various levels of complexity. Weaving throughout the module will be a review and reflection of the professional narrative aligned with the personal lived experience and the tensions which can arise whilst working within a system that can exercise power and control over the lives of the people it has been created to serve.

How will I learn on this module?

As a second-year student nurse you will be afforded the opportunity to proactively engage with your own professional development and that of others. At this stage you will be familiar with the range of learning and teaching strategies employed (online learning materials, seminars and workshops), which will enable you to take ownership of your academic journey within the developing concept curriculum.To explore complex nursing issues nested concepts will be utilised to facilitate depth of analysis through an enquiry-based learning approach.

You will continue to be engaged in a variety of learning and teaching approaches, delivered using a blend of web-based resources to support face-to-face workshops and seminars, underpinned by the ‘flipped classroom’ approach (Bergmand & Sams, 2012). Again, it is crucial that you engage with both the directed and self-directed study outside of the face-to-face sessions to ensure that you are fully prepared for all facilitated sessions.This is non-negotiable and sets the expectations of becoming an accountable and professional nurse.

The classroom sessions will include individual work, group discussion and debate where you will be encouraged to share learning, consider competing perspectives, work with Experts by Experience (EBE’s) and develop a greater understanding of the multiple perspectives involved when working with people with complex needs and mental distress.
In addition, in this year of study, the directed activities you will complete within the ‘Study & Research Skills’ Workbook, will focus more critically on different approaches to research and critiquing trustworthiness, validity and reliability as your research skills progress through the evolving concept curriculum.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by a dedicated and highly motivated module team of mental health nursing lecturers with knowledge of the concepts and perspectives considered within the module. You will receive ongoing guidance and feedback to support you to engage with the module. Contact with the module team is available in person, via telephone, email and Blackboard Ultra.

You will be allocated a Personal Tutor, who will meet with you regularly and provide you with consistent pastoral support and access to academic guidance.

You will have access to Blackboard Ultra, where you will find a range of learning materials, videos, workbooks and on-line supportive materials packages.

Support for your overall student experience is also offered via the 24-hour IT Helpline, Student Support and Wellbeing Services, Library Services and Skills Plus and the Helpdesk Service. You will be encouraged to support one another within your group and to seek guidance from practice supervisors in relation to applying the key theoretical concepts within your placement.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1 Demonstrate an appreciation of research and other evidence associated with perspectives of complex care within mental health nursing.

2 Recognise and critically evaluate the need to work within legal and ethical frameworks to provide safe, effective and person-centred nursing care for people with complex care needs.

Intellectual / Professional Skills & Abilities:

3 Critically explore more nuanced understandings of distress and the myriad of factors that can impact upon care provision across a variety of settings.

4 Develop a humanistic, person-centred approach to the assessment and treatment of people with complex care needs across a range of mental health settings and in consideration of the tensions this can bring when working with people who are multiply disadvantaged.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5 Reflect upon your role within a complex mental health system and how you manage the core values of compassionate, recovery focussed, collaborative care whilst working within the remit of legal systems that can be perceived as coercive/ abusive.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment:
Working in small peer groups you will present your case study identifying the complexities of care. Using coaching methods you will engage in a purposeful conversation to elicit peer feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the content of your presentation (MLO’s 2,3,4)

Summative Assessment:
The assessment strategy for the module consists of a 2500 word written assignment in which you will demonstrate your knowledge of the impact of physical, environmental, social, familial and psychological factors on mental health and wellbeing and applying individual and collective recovery approaches to treating and supporting people with complex mental health issues.
(MLO’s – 1,2,3,4,5).





Module abstract

This module extends your theoretical development from previous learning, developing your critical thinking skills to explore the intricacies of supporting those with complex care needs. The contemporary mental health nurse works within a mental health framework of localisation, personalisation, choice and social inclusion, yet sits within a system that can wield extensive power.The knowledge, skills and practice relating to complex care is a fundamental and essential component of the Registered Mental Health Nurses’ skill set. You will gain an awareness of theories and concepts that help inform practice within complex care, whilst considering the relationship between the individual, their family and wider social systems. This module offers synthesis of theory and practice to better understand the issues of complexity and how this informs shared care delivery and the development of co-constructed recovery outcomes. You will apply these emerging understandings and skill sets to your practice placement increasing confidence and competence within challenging environments.

Course info

UCAS Code B740

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time

Department Nursing, Midwifery & Health

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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