So here is the thing that never ceases to amaze me: the people who ask me what I do always have a different reaction when I tell them I am a mental health nurse. After 8 years of being a mental health nurse, I thought I had seen all the reactions – but a couple of weeks ago whilst shopping in a local supermarket, small talk with a fellow shopper turned to the question about professions. I was surprised when the fellow shopper insisted on shaking my hand and proceeded to thank me. He explained that his daughter had been very ill for a period (now better) and praised the mental health nurses who helped her overcome the difficult period. I encouraged him to write to the service to tell them about what he valued of the nurses’ input as I couldn’t very well take the praise of these clearly hard working mental health nurses. I do remember walking out of that store with an extra spring in my step and thinking about the low profile of mental health nursing in comparison to other professions.
Incidentally, when I was asked to give a talk about mental health nursing at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) jobs fair a week later, I immediately said ‘Yes!’. But ofcourse I then realised I had to think and plan what it is I am going to say about mental health nursing. I decided on a theme of why and what makes mental health nursing awesome. I took my own experiences of being a mental health nursing manager and put it down in a visual presentation below:
So, there you have it: my 2 pence on why I think its awesome to be a mental health nurse.