I qualified in 2011 and started as a staff nurse on the ward I now manage. It’s been a very fast progression. You get the best of both worlds in the secure environment. You’re managing acute risk and then moving people towards rehabilitation and recovery. It’s a very specialised area, you’re tackling the stigma of mental illness coupled with an offending or high-risk history.
Our patients may have personality disorders, psychosis or a more complex dual diagnosis. We help people with the transition back to a meaningful life, be it returning home, or into supported housing, whatever is the right level for them. That’s always our ultimate goal.
To see someone who has been with us for a long time have a successful transition and move on to community life or a long-term patient, who has resisted engagement of any kind, finally become involved in his own care plan, that’s what success looks like for us. We hold hope for every single one of our patients. We hold hope for people even when they don’t have any for themselves.
There are great opportunities to develop and I’ve been particularly lucky to develop so quickly. You never feel stuck in your role and I enjoy both the management and the clinical side. My ultimate goal is to be a nurse consultant and also a mentor, helping students to develop, as I have been helped.
Listening into Action
It is challenging, we’re working with people with complex needs and significant risk histories in some cases. With robust supervision, team focus and support you can work through your own feelings and be able to support the patient. The trust-wide initiative ‘Listening into Action’ means staff are heard and can also put forward their own ideas and solutions. You need to have the ambition to improve patient care. This is not a place where you simply come to work, do your job and go home.
I love my job. It can be stressful, but it’s worth it to see patients move on and meet their personal goals. It’s rewarding to make a difference to a patient’s life, a carer’s life or a staff member’s life and I’m proud of making that difference.