Mental Health Nurses Day 2022

Published: 18 February 2022 to 31 December 2098

Monday 21 February is Mental Health Nurses Day.

The purpose of this date is to celebrate the diversity and importance of mental health nursing and attracting much-needed talent to the speciality.

As an NHS Trust that delivers a variety of mental health services, we are always grateful for our Mental Health Nurses and all that they do every day.

However, we are pleased to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of our wonderful nurses in the interviews below.

 

Joanne, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services

What inspired you to become a Mental Health Nurse?

In 1996 I had a part time job as a Catering Assistant at Westlands (then in was a mixed adult unit). During this time, I built up a good rapport with the patients there. This made me think ‘I would love to do this’.

What was the first step you took into becoming a Mental Health Nurse?

When a job became available for a nursing assistant, I applied and I got the job! Three years later, in 1999, I decided that I wanted to work with children and young people, so I applied for a job as a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) at CAMHS.

In 2010, I decided I wanted to offer more to the service, so I did my nurse training and became a qualified Mental Health Nurse. Being a HCA first really built up my experience and prepared me for my career ahead.

Has the Trust supported you in any specific ways to develop your career?

Absolutely! When I was a HCA, I started doing my nurse training with the Open University, with support from the Trust to do so.

As well as being a student, I was allowed to carry on with my job. They have been very supportive in my development throughout the various stages of my career, and anything I have taken an interest in in terms of training. Yes, they have always been very supportive.

What is your favourite thing about being a Mental Health Nurse?

My favourite thing about being a Mental Health Nurse is really cliché, but it is helping people.

Especially when working in CAMHS, I feel that I am helping get the right support to people at an early age, to reduce their chances of requiring adult services in the future – it is a really rewarding thing. I also really enjoy working systemically with children and families.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to follow a similar career path?

It’s good to have as many experiences as possible (both learning and personal experiences) and putting it into practice, it’s all relevant and it will help you down the line.

Be prepared, there’s no denying that at times it is very difficult, having to deal with hard situations which can be very daunting and upsetting. You learn to compartmentalize, separating work life from home life and peer supervision is a good avenue of support. But if you’re passionate about it, just do it! It might be just the right thing for you.

 

Sarah, Perinatal Mental Health Liaison Team

What inspired you to become a Mental Health Nurse?

I was really unsure what I wanted to do when I left school, so I enrolled onto a range of different subjects at college. One of them was Health and Social Care. We were given the task to research different roles and I looked into the role of a mental health nurse. I found it really interesting and also liked the idea of being able to help others.

What was the first step you took into becoming a Mental Health Nurse?

I completed my college course in Health and Social Care, following that I applied to Hull University and started a Mental Health Nursing Degree. Part of the enrolment was to also have an interview with one of the lecturers and fortunately I was successful!

How has the Trust supported you to develop your career?

During my nursing career, which is coming up to 10 years in November, I have remained within the same Trust. I have been able to develop my career and be successful in getting a higher banding. In my current role, I have been given many training opportunities in order to develop my skills and continue my learning in specialist areas.

What is your favourite thing about being a Mental Health Nurse?

My favourite thing about being a Mental Health Nurse is helping others and meeting new people. It’s a real privilege that the people I work with allow me into their lives, particularly when it could be at the hardest time for them.

I think the biggest challenge is ensuring we remember to take care of ourselves.

As Nurses we are so used to helping others and putting others first, but we need to get a good balance, we have to be okay in order to support others.

What advice would you give to others wanting to follow a similar career path?

It is hard to put into words how diverse the role is. No two days are the same and there is so much variety from one day to the next, which I love. I would say come in with an open mind and prepare to expect the unexpected.

 

Mia, Adult and Older People’s Mental Health

What inspired you to become a Mental Health Nurse?

I was inspired by family members’ experiences of long standing functional mental health issues; they have been in inpatient services so it’s very close to home. I was also inspired by my mother, who was a Nurse in the Trust. Seeing her response to mental health influenced me to go down that route. Even as a kid I was always caring, playing doctors and nurses so I was probably always going to do something like this.

What was the first step you took into becoming a Mental Health Nurse?

I came straight from school, into college and then into university.

During college, I did the generic healthcare course and by doing that I decided to focus on mental health and tailored my education to it thereafter.

How has the Trust supported you to develop your career?

Having the Practice Education team was useful when I was training. A good example was that I had a needle phobia, so they supported me in doing 1:1 sessions to overcome this.

I like working with end-of-life nursing as I find it extremely rewards, so I was pleased when the Trust supported this and helped to facilitate it as part of my experience.

I am also part of the Preceptorship programme, which has been helpful. Its great having that extra support.

What is your favourite thing about being a Mental Health Nurse?

Well, it’s all the cheesy stuff isn’t it. Being able to help people feels important to me. It is a hard job, but when you see people getting well enough to be discharged who, looking back, were very unwell, is really rewarding.

What’s something that you didn’t expect about the job?

The dynamic between staff and patient. You quickly learn that while you have professional skills and knowledge, it’s also your job to be human. Having a bit of banter with patients and being honest with them helps to build rapport and help them get well.

What advice would you give to other’s wanting to follow a similar career path?

Be open to the different practices you see and try to take pieces of information from everywhere. Take control of your own learning, be proactive in what it is you want to do, and don’t forget to be kind to yourself. That’s very important.

 

Mel, Professional Education Lead

What inspired you to become a Mental Health Nurse?

Whilst at college I worked weekends in our village shop and loved talking to people and helping them, especially the older residents in the village. My Aunt who was a Mental Health Nurse at the time suggested that I had the qualities needed.

What was the first step you took into becoming a Mental Health Nurse?

My Aunt suggested I made an appointment to meet with the Nursing Officer at the local mental health hospital, who offered me a job as a Nursing Assistant. He then went on to sponsor me to do my nurse training.

How has the Trust supported you to develop your career?

The Trust has supported me to obtain further post-registration qualifications at university and provided opportunities for me to take part in national and regional networks. I have also had fantastic supervision from nurses throughout my career with the Trust.

What is your favourite thing about being a Nurse?

Every day is different and working as a team.

What is the biggest challenge?

Ensuring the next generation of nurses get everything they need to do their job well.

What is something that you did not expect about the job?

Long lasting friendships. I am still in touch with my first mentor from my first placement in 1984.

What advice would you give to others wanting to follow a similar career path?

Work as a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) first, as this provides a real insight into mental health care and helps you to realise if this is the right career for you.

 

 

 

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