A CAMPAIGN has been launched to recruit more learning disability and mental health nurses in the south west.
NHS England South West (NHS SW) and Health Education England South West (HEE SW) have launched the #WeAreTheSouthWest initiative, which hears from a range of learning disability and mental health nurses as they showcase their roles and explain what they involve.
Highlighting what they love about their job and the opportunities available, it is hoped the initiative will boost applications in the region.
Mental health and learning disability nurses work in a range of settings, including hospitals, in the community, social care or in a residential or educational setting.
They work to support people living with mental health conditions or learning disabilities and their families to ensure a high quality of life and enable them to live as independent and full lives as possible.
Natasha Teague, acute learning disability nurse at University Hospitals Plymouth, said: “I always knew I wanted to work in learning disability and so, when I left school, I completed a three-year undergraduate course in learning disability nursing at Queen’s University Belfast.
“Being an acute learning disability nurse is a very rewarding job. A standard day varies greatly; every day is so different, which is a fantastic thing. We work with a range of patients in the hospital who have learning disabilities by supporting them with attending appointments, visiting them and their families and identifying any reasonable adjustments they may need, supporting their discharge and much more.
“For me, the most rewarding part of the role is supporting patients through their entire hospital journey, from admission right through to discharge. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to work with a wide range of health professionals; from consultants to physios, radiographers, the domestic team, the rest of the nursing team, health care assistants and more.
“I think, to become a learning disability nurse, it’s really important to have excellent communication skills – both verbal and non-verbal – and to be creative, innovative and think outside the box.”
Danni Picot, mental health nurse and deputy ward manager of the mother and baby unit at Devon Partnership NHS Trust, said: “As a mental health nurse, I enjoy being part of a patient’s journey – seeing someone who is at the most vulnerable part of their life in a mental health crisis start to recover is really rewarding.
“I feel very privileged to have helped someone understand and recover from their mental health difficulty.
“To empower women on their journey as a new mum is a really unique position as you are not only supporting that mother to bond with their infant but ensuring for that infant they are developing a secure attachment.
“Mental health nursing is a unique and exciting profession, there are so many opportunities to choose from and with new services developing all the time there is something that will suit anyone and what they want to get out of nursing.
“I would say to anyone aspiring to be a mental health nurse to keep focused on why they want to work in mental health, it may not always be easy but you can always make a difference.”
Christian Brailsford, regional head of nursing and midwifery at Health Education England South West, said: “Learning disability nursing and mental health nursing are two fantastic career options for people in the South West. There are a number of opportunities for learning disability and mental health nurses in the South West to work in a range of locations and settings. This includes the potential to work in the community, hospital settings, social care, residential or educational settings and more.
“There is a real need for more learning disability and mental health nurses in the South West and so, if you’re compassionate, have great communication skills and really want to make a difference, a career as a learning disability or mental health nurse could be for you.”