Being a mental health nurse is both a challenging and rewarding role. The challenges are not only in terms of the emotional impact that caring for patients can have, but also the financial and political constraints that we often have to operate under while working in the NHS.
Despite numerous awareness and anti-stigma campaigns, the stigma of mental illness continues to permeate throughout society, albeit in many cases unintentionally. Thus, when an individual confides in you and ‘lets you in’ to their life, their suffering, their illness, it is a great privilege that should be treated with care and respect.
From admission to discharge, you support and follow the patient in their recovery journey while being able to contribute towards a positive outcome – which is a great feeling. Equally, liaising with family members is also a privilege, particularly when providing support and reassurance to them during a very difficult time.
Overall, being a mental health nurse offers great opportunities to support and treat individuals suffering from often complex mental health problems. It gives you a unique insight into other people’s lives, struggles and human experiences.
In addition, being a mental health nurse offers you wide and varied career opportunities. Therefore, if you are an ambitious, compassionate and caring individual, a career in mental health nursing could be for you.
Lewis, 1st Year PGDip Mental Health Nursing