"I will always be grateful that I took this path and for the opportunities I had along the way."
Emma Baker is a Mental Health Liaison Practitioner. Nursing was never a part of her plan but now she couldn't imagine doing anything else. Here is her story:
"I sort of accidentally fell into the NHS. I was working as a home care assistant providing care for the elderly. I was a single mum to a young child and I wasn’t really thinking about my career. When he went to school I needed more hours and applied for a job at a Psychiatric Hospital. I wasn’t totally sure what psychiatric meant and thought I would be working with people who had learning disabilities, this turned out not to be the case! I continued with my care work at the hospital for a while as I was really enjoying it; it was very different to the retail and factory work I had done before.
"When Homefield closed in 2001, I moved over to work at Meadowfield as a nursing assistant. I really enjoyed working there and made some good friends. Through the Trust an opportunity came up to study Community Mental Health issues. I enrolled but was really daunted as it was the first time I had studied anything since school. It went really well and I found I was really interested in it.
"Back on the ward at Meadowfield one of my friends wanted to do her nurse training, an opportunity for secondment was being offered by the Trust at the time. I always joke and say I was bullied into doing my training by a colleague and friend who was also applying for it, but the reality was I had never considered I might go to university at any time and I lacked confidence. I have now been qualified for 11 years.
"I never had any thoughts of being a nurse when I was younger but now, it’s who I am.
"I’ve had some great experiences: I came into contact with the homeless project which really touched me and I continue to support this service through fundraising to this day. The services I have most enjoyed during the past 11 years have been the Group Treatment Service in Brighton and Lighthouse Recovery Support, specialist service for people with a diagnosis of Personality Disorder in Hove. Now, in my new role as a Mental Health Liaison Practitioner in Worthing, I am learning again and revisiting skills to work with people in different and varied ways. I love meeting people and having the opportunity to support them.
"Being a nurse has enabled me to grow as a person and develop in many areas of my life. As a mental health nurse you can’t help learning about yourself and seeing how you cope with things and assessing your own mental health.
"I have come such a long way because of what I do as a mental health nurse and the things I have learned. I will always be grateful that I took this path and for the opportunities I had along the way."