This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health for All’.
This means that people everywhere should have access to quality mental health services as and when needed, without getting into financial hardship.
However, with a major shortage of mental health Nurses, it is not always possible for people to receive the quality care they need to improve their mental health.
We at Nurseline Healthcare sat down with our very own RMN, Mayda, to chat about her experiences as a mental health nurse.
If you’re a newly qualified nurse or if you’re thinking of specialising in mental health, we hope this insight will encourage you to seriously consider a career in caring for, and supporting, people with mental health conditions.
Why did you get into mental health nursing?
I come from a background where most of my family are in a medical field. For example, my mum and sister are both general nurses, and my brother is a GP.
Initially, in my first year of nursing, I did placements in all areas – children’s, adult, midwifery, learning disabilities and mental health, and I really loved my mental health placement. I felt like it was much more hands on; talking, doing activities with people – that’s what drew me to specialise in mental health.
What do you love about mental health nursing?
You get to look after service users with a range of conditions, from schizophrenia to dementia and addictions.
The needs of the people you care for are likely to be particularly high and extremely individualised; no care plan is the same for each individual, especially having completed most of my hospital nursing experience in a medium secure unit.
Mental health nursing has many roles, such as holistic assessment, developing a programme of complex intervention, and delivering specialised care on a daily basis. You generally get more hours with patients.
What are some of the challenges you faced as an RMN?
The main frustration is the shortage of staff, meaning less time spent with the actual service users due to safety and a lack of resources.
Also, more and more, the priorities are on getting the paperwork right, turning it into a box-ticking exercise, rather than the hands-on care I enjoyed.
But the key is to find the right care provider that is more focussed on the person and their needs, which will bring in much more job satisfaction.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in mental health?
My advice is that in order to do a good job and really make an impact, you will need to build up your levels of patience, enthusiasm and tenacity!
I will say that despite the huge amount of challenges presented, working as a mental health nurse can bring unrivaled rewards.
Helping some of the most vulnerable individuals across the country is why so many people choose to work in the mental health sector.
It provides many people with significant daily job satisfaction. Job satisfaction as well as making a difference to society is arguably the main reason most people are motivated to become mental health nurses.