Nursing isn’t what I expected it to be – I wanted to ‘fix’ problems, provide solutions, help people to live the best lives they could, ‘sort things out’. I soon learnt!
Becoming a nurse
I fell into nursing quite by accident. Eighteen years ago a friend of mine had applied for an enrolment pack for university then discovered she was pregnant. I rescued the application forms on a whim from her bin, and started at Glasgow Caledonian University later that year.
I spent my first five years working in a Category B male prison in Staffordshire then the open Category D where I was dealing with everything from stabbings, self harm, detoxification, psychotic episodes, depressive disorders, alcohol abuse, dirty protests and a major riot where the national responders were called out. There was, however, also fun, mayhem, pranks and laughter. The rewarding part was seeing men go through a crisis and work through it, knowing that I had played a part in their recovery and the impact that would have moving forward.
Mental Health Nursing
I specialised early on in the more challenging side of mental health nursing. During training, I worked in homeless outreach services within Glasgow, alcohol and detox units, prisons, community outreach and forensic facilities.
I spent three and a half years working in a secure psychiatric hospital for severe and enduring mental health and challenging behaviours. That was a unique experience and never a dull moment! A quieter more sedate nursing home followed and then I found myself working in a hostel for women and children escaping domestic abuse. My next role was as Senior Nurse within a holiday environment for physically and mentally disabled travellers. I then landed at Brendoncare Park Road just over two years ago.
Tattoos and Faith
My tattoos have always been a lead in to some interesting conversations with people I work with. Over the years, I have found that my ‘faith’ design with crucifix, originally an act of rebellion, has led to conversations about spirituality, how that impacts mental health and, more recently, the importance of faith (or lack of) within end of life care.
I have always had an interest in complimentary and holistic therapies – I am trained in massage, aromatherapy, nutrition and mood, holistic pain management and professional relaxation therapy amongst others. I have found these to be a useful part of the ‘tool box’ to aid in holistic care for our residents and something which I am keen to develop further.
Nursing has certainly been an adventure – a lesson in stepping back, walking alongside, walking behind and bringing up the rear, and sometimes watching on helplessly as life takes over. Nursing is so much more rewarding than I imagined; life enriching and a constant learning curve – I love it!