Andy shares why he loves being a mental health nurse as we celebrate Mental Health Nurses' Day

Date added: 21 February 2022

Andy is joining Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust as the Trust's Chief Nurse on 1 March and is very much looking forward to meeting our fabulous team of nurses.

As it’s Mental Health Nurses’ Day, Andy wanted to reach out and join in with our celebrations with his own story of how he became a mental health nurse and what it means to him still today.

“I trained as a nurse towards the end of the asylum era of mental healthcare in a large hospital in Lancashire. I then went on to work in adult mental health for a few years before moving to London to work with children and adolescents. I was employed to lead on the development of new inpatient units for adolescents at Guys Hospital and then later went on to do this in East London too.

“Working with children and teenagers was, and still is, a real passion. Giving people the best ‘first experience’ of mental health services is very important to me. It shapes how they continue to seek and engage with the help and support all mental health services can provide. As a nurse you want that relationship to start as well as possible and to be able to give that person the best possible chance of a full recovery- it’s essential.

“What I realise most after many years as a nurse is that, regardless of clinical area, if you are passionate about the work you do, then it often generates a tremendous sense of hope in those around you. Nurses play such an important role in this, they can make such an enormous difference.

“As a mental health nurse, I love learning about people. I love helping people to think through and manage their problems. Build on their strengths and talents as well as creating hope and direction with them too. Being a nurse is very often great fun. I think this is directly connected to that sense of reward that you get seeing a person’s quality of life improve and knowing that you were involved in that happening.

“My advice, if you are thinking of becoming a mental health nurse, is to just think about a moment when someone was kind to you. It may only have been a small gesture, but think about how you felt! Making a difference starts and ends with kindness. There may be much wisdom and training required in between, but if you are eager to find a way of creating a career shaped by kindness and compassion, then I could think of no better option than mental health nursing. It is a challenge, but it is so worth the effort!”