Alex, a graduate of our Mental Health Nursing degree, works on a 20-bed Adult Psychiatric Admissions ward in Princess of Wales Hospital.
"An average day for me involves administering medications and PRN [as needed] medication, as some patients require extra medication for either mania or psychotic delusions which can cause them a lot of distress.
I also provide physical, practical and emotional support for patients. Throughout my training I have seen a growth in the number of older adults being admitted to the ward, and these need assistance for the activities of daily living.
I am also involved in the multidisciplinary team handovers, where we identify a plan for each patient. This could be preparing for discharge and communicating with community teams and families, or plans to aid the recovery of patients.
I love the fast paced nature of the role, as patients can be admitted 24/7 and there is always some level of support needed. This makes the job interesting and there are always new ways to build a therapeutic relationship with patients.
There is such a stigma attached to mental health. People always surprised to learn that mental health patients are not the same as they are portrayed on television or films; in reality, they are all just regular people.
Nursing a specialised profession and is treated that way from the moment you begin studying until the day you retire. The sense of community you get from working on a ward is very special. The friendships you make with your colleagues can help a lot with the pressure of the job.
I choose USW because of the excellent reputation of its nursing degree curriculum and its placement areas. Throughout my nurse training, I experienced a variety of learning environments, and particularly enjoyed my time on Acute Adult Psychiatric and A&E. At A&E, my general physical healthcare skills improved greatly in the short three weeks I was there.
I enjoyed my Acute Adult Psychiatric placements so much that throughout my training, I continued to work there as a health care assistant - and currently work as a staff nurse on the ward where I completed my final placement!
The support I received at University and on placement was excellent. My personal tutor and upervisors were easily contactable and able to help with any concerns I had. As they were all nurses, they understood the working environment of a ward and could relate to everything I was going through.
If you are thinking about applying for Nursing, I would say that any experience you can gain before starting the course will help you a lot. I volunteered before starting and although it was only four hours a week, it gave me an insight into ward life before starting the degree.
What’s more, it’s valuable if you can get into the habit of reflecting on and recording experiences from the start. Nursing can sometimes be a series of events that repeat themselves. Remembering how you handled a situation will help as you progress."