James Mitchell

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“There’s a career path waiting for me when I qualify. It’s a great feeling”

James Mitchell,

Senior support worker

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James' Story

I fell into healthcare, but once I’d fallen, I realised I was making a difference. I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s about helping people who really need it.

I am training to be a mental health nurse. I have already completed a year at university and work part-time. Sussex Partnership help me work around my study. I get a bursary and the course fees are paid. I will stay with Sussex Partnership when I qualify. There are lots of opportunities and they have invested in me. Once I’m a qualified mental health nurse, I like the idea of managing a ward. There’s a career path waiting for me when I qualify. It’s a great feeling.

My team are great. They are positive, driven and caring. We find people that fit together. We all have the same aim: to provide the best possible care and support for people. You’re welcomed, listened to and supported. I think it’s a big part of why people enjoy working here; you feel your opinion matters. I’m proud to work here.

Working and studying at the same time is a challenge, but it works because of the flexibility. You can compress your hours and get longer periods of free time. I live in Brighton. There’s a mix of the busy and the peaceful here: a diverse culture and the beautiful coastline and the Downs.

The reward comes when you’ve supporting someone through a long and difficult period and see them get so much better and move on.

One of the most challenging sides to the job is the ability of staff and clients to understand each other. It works both ways. Some of our clients are frustrated because they can’t express themselves clearly. Significant life events may also have had an impact, or medication might not be working. All these elements can lead to aggressive behaviour or protest. Sometimes they may not actually understand the reason they need to eat or take medication. Mental health problems also affect their behaviour. People with learning disabilities are actually more prone to physical problems, but often can’t tell us about their pain. Trying to bring about a change in someone’s behaviour is the most interesting and the most difficult part of the job.