Mental Health Nurses Day 2021

Published: 18 February 2021 to 31 December 2098

Mental Health Nurses Day 2021

Mental Health Nurses Day is on Sunday 21st February, and this year we want to take this opportunity for you to get to know some of our mental health nurses a little better.

We would also like to extend a huge THANK YOU to our Humbelievable teams, who continue to work extraordinarily hard throughout these trying times. Your work does not go unnoticed and we are grateful for all that you do.

 

Tracy, Deputy Director of Nursing; Allied Health and Social Care Professionals

What does being a MH Nurse mean to you?

Fundamentally, becoming a MH nurse felt like coming home, like I had finally found my place in the world. Making a human connection with people during their most extreme times of distress or fear has been very humbling.

I love working with people and being a MH nurse has provided a wide variety of opportunities to work with people from all backgrounds and in many different contexts. Seeing people recover, whatever that means for them, is a remarkable privilege. 

What is your favourite thing about being a MH Nurse?

Working with people. The warmth, wisdom and humour of colleagues and service users has been incredible. I have learned so much about myself from others. Being a MH nurse has given me an understanding and skillset that has helped me in every aspect of my life.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

Working remotely and establishing new ways of interacting with colleagues and teams would have to be the main one.

Learning how to adjust and maintain relationships with staff and patients when we can’t be face to face. I have had a big role supporting the upskilling MH nurses to deal with physical health needs safely. This has meant interpreting national guidance and developing new policies and procedures and clinical pathways.

What inspired you to become a MH Nurse?

I started doing a Psychology degree, but found it dry and distant from my own experience of being a human being and ended up dropping out. I was working in a nursing home with my best friend and loved being hands on. She started her nurse training and when she did her psychiatric placement she told me I’d love it. I didn’t even know that psychiatric nursing was a thing, but I applied and got onto the course and have never looked back  

What would you say to others aspiring to be a MH Nurse in the future?

If you choose to be a MH nurse there are multiple opportunities and pathways that you can take to have a rich and diverse career. I have had the opportunity to be a MH nurse, a MH nurse educator, a MH nurse researcher and a MH nurse leader. MH nurses have a unique role and opportunity to  develop therapeutic relationships with people suffering with mental illness and mental distress.

A favourite quote of mine from some research I was previously involved in, is:

“A lot of the time you’re ‘winging it’ seeing how someone responds and adjusting your approach accordingly. Being honest and genuine, not worrying too much about saying the right or wrong thing and concentrating on being there for them. Listening and communicating skills are important, people will respond to lots of different things. Being patient, trust and respect will develop gradually. It’s about saying I’ll meet you half way, I’m here for you, I’m reaching out to you, my hand is there and it will stay there until you’re ready to take it.”

- Clarke and Flanagan (2003)

 

Hollie, Staff Nurse

What does being a MH Nurse mean to you?

Being a mental health nurse is diverse; no two days are the same. The profession is so broad and there is something for everyone. 

What is your favourite thing about being a MH Nurse?

My favourite thing about being a mental health nurse is the lasting impact we can have on our patients – something as simple as giving our time to someone, making them that cup of tea, and talking about their strengths, can aid their recovery. Seeing our patients recover and able to live independently is the best thing. 

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

My role as a student nurse in 2020 changed due to the pandemic. Myself, and many students from the University of Hull, opted into the Band 4 Aspirant Nurse role to support our patient’s services. Not only did this help us to feel involved and support the Trust, but it also gave us additional opportunities to develop our skills prior to qualifying. We are extremely lucky to have been given that opportunity.  

What inspired you to become a MH Nurse?

I have wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. Mental health nursing is something that has always intrigued me and I am passionate in the belief that our mental health is integral to our physical health. 

What would you say to others aspiring to be a MH Nurse in the future?

To anybody aspiring to be a mental health nurse – do it! You can make that difference in someone’s life, have such a rewarding career, and you will also develop as an individual.  

 

Ami, Specialist Nurse at PSYPHER

What does being a MH Nurse mean to you?

To me, being a mental health nurse is such a privilege. I am always taken aback by the strength and courage of those we work with. Offering hope and optimism to those we support and developing trusting relationships is key to being a mental health nurse.  

What is your favourite thing about being a MH Nurse?

That no day is the same and that you are always learning, no matter how long you have been in the role. I love being part of a client’s recovery journey and having the freedom to really get to know our them, and focus interventions based on what is important to them as an individual.

How has your job changed during the pandemic?

Our service has a big focus on social interventions and at the moment we have had to really adapt to continue to achieve this virtually. We are also working much more remotely, I do miss being in the office around colleges and being able to attend the PSYPHER groups, but we remain hopeful that better days are coming.

What inspired you to become a MH Nurse?

I had been a support worker for a number of years and used to have interactions with the nurses coming and one day thought ‘I think I could do that’ so I applied and was offered a place on the MH nursing course at Hull University.

What would you say to others aspiring to be a MH Nurse in the future?

Communication, positivity and empathy are all really important attributes to have as a mental health nurse, as well as resilience, being adaptable, keeping calm under pressure and the ability to reflect.  I am really proud to be a mental health nurse and would always say to others that if you are passionate about helping others and making a change, it might be something you will love too.

 

Stacey, Team Leader and Registered Mental Health Nurse

What does being a MH Nurse mean to you?

Making a difference to people’s lives and knowing every day that you are going to learn something new and no day will ever be the same.

What is your favourite thing about being a MH Nurse? 

Supporting service users and family members during some of the most difficult times in their lives and knowing that the team have been able to support them to see the change from initial assessment to discharge.

I also love being a Team Leader and being able to support my team to achieve their individual development goals and helping improve the service and overall patient care.

How has your job changed during the pandemic? 

The CITOP team have continued with face to face contact with service users throughout the pandemic. We have altered our practice to ensure we are COVID safe, to protect both staff and service users.

We have also developed a new Acute Community Service to support our service users, due to the increased need for mental health support, which has been a success during such a challenging time. We have embraced technology too, which has meant introducing virtual meetings and so on.

What inspired you to become a MH Nurse? 

After completing my Psychology degree, I wanted to utilise all I had learnt and I quickly discovered that Mental Health Nursing would allow me to expand on this, while working directly with service users.

I was fortunate to be able to complete a 2 year conversion to become a Mental Health Nurse, during which time I also worked on the Trust Bank, which gave me the experience of direct Service User Care. I enjoyed this experience and it confirmed this was the career for me. I also have personal experience of contact with mental health services and this inspired me to give back following the support that we received as a family.

What would you say to others aspiring to be a MH Nurse in the future? 

If you want a job that will be interesting, challenging and fulfilling, then Mental Health Nursing is for you. There is nothing more rewarding that seeing somebody recover and knowing that you have supported them to get there.  

 

Emily, Staff Nurse 

What does being a MH Nurse mean to you? 

Working within this setting and especially within a specialist area of Personality Disorder, being a nurse means making a difference to someone’s life. This to me is not always about leaps and bounds, but it’s the small progress that you can offer within someone’s life.

To me, mental health nursing is about autonomously and collaboratively providing safety, stability and consistency. Working with a trauma informed care model allows me to appreciate the small difference we can make by the minutest of actions.

In a nutshell, being a nurse to me means caring for every aspect of an individual, providing them with the highest standards of care during the times they need it most.

What is your favourite thing about being a MH Nurse? 

My favourite thing about being within the nursing profession is the sense of community and teamwork. This does not just spread within the team I work in, but within the whole hospital setting. Without a team approach, and the support of other individuals, professionals and even those I care for, my job would not only be harder but would not be as enjoyable. In short, nursing is about not only about supporting our patients, but supporting each other to ensure our jobs can be done to the best of our abilities.  

How has your job changed during the pandemic? 

Throughout the pandemic we have faced strains that we never knew were possible. Patients have understandably become more restricted through these times and additional support has been essential to their wellbeing.Not only has the pandemic increased our workload, but I have also found myself offering more supervision to my peers and staff team. 

You cannot fully acknowledge the impact this pandemic has had until working on the frontline. However, the support we have received from others has helped us through this time and I am proud to have continued to offer high quality patient care as a result.

What inspired you to become a MH Nurse?  

To become any nurse I feel it is essential to have that drive and desire to make changes for the better to someone’s life.

What inspired me to become a nurse was when I was young at primary school, I was friends with a young boy who was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. It was evident that he was lonely and didn’t have a friendship group, so I wanted to make him happy. Throughout school we became best friends and the change in his personality was amazing, this really inspired me to help people. Throughout my training and professional practice, I have taken great amounts of inspiration from my amazing mentors and colleagues to shape and mould my approach to the nursing care I provide.  

What would you say to others aspiring to be a MH Nurse in the future?  

Go with your goal. Be determined, show courage and look for the little wins. It will be hard, but that is why it takes someone special to do this job. Nursing, providing care and changing people’s life is the biggest privilege you will ever have. 

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