9 November 2020
It has always been apparent to me that I want to pursue a career that enables me to make a positive impact on someone else’s life. Before applying to university, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse. However, I had a tough decision to make as to which branch of nursing to choose.
I chose the path of a mental health nurse because I am passionate about breaking the stigma around mental illness and advocating for my patients and their needs. I’ve always felt like in today’s society more uncommon mental illnesses are demonised and stereotyped.
I want to use my knowledge to educate and diminish this way of thinking. I’ve had an interest in mental ill health since secondary school when a friend of mine struggled with their own mental health; I saw how this affected them and wanted to help. This pushed me to research more about mental illness as I was determined to give others helpful and beneficial advice.
Over the COVID-19 national lockdown, I worked as a support worker in a care home for residents with learning disability and mental health needs. This confirmed my choice for becoming a mental health nurse as I found it rewarding being able to assist other people with daily tasks to make their lives feel a little easier.
During this time, I was able to learn a lot of useful skills too, such as communication and the moving and handling of patients. I also learnt a great amount about how to effectively communicate to patients who lack capacity so I could understand how to cater to their needs.
It was very fulfilling for me to work within a team of people who just want their residents to receive the best quality care possible.
I later had the opportunity to carry out a few days of work experience in a dementia care home. This taught me a lot about the illness and the importance of keeping the residents’ brains active through engaging them in activities. In addition, I realised that getting the residents to talk about their past was a great way to stimulate their brain and memory and to also make conversation.
What I love about my degree in Mental Health Nursing is that I get the opportunity to experience a range of placements in different settings and even different countries. I am excited to enter placement and work alongside qualified mental health nurses who will support me through my practical learning. I am entering this course with an open mind so I can make the most out of the next three years as a student nurse with ARU!