Day in the Life: Whats it's like being a nurse at SPFT
Tell me a bit about your role?
Hi, I'm Kieran and I'm a staff nurse working on Amber ward which is a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Working on a PICU means supporting people with mental ill health but who present with higher risks to themselves or others and can't be supported on an open ward. Being a nurse, specifically a mental health nurse, means that I can support people to make sense of their world and suffering alongside their experience of mental illness. Oh! and I also administer medication, spend quality time with the service users to explore what is causing them distress, bring and make a supportive and safe space for them to express their needs and all of the things that bother them.
What is a typical day in your staff nursing role?
Firstly, you have to arrive a greet your colleagues with a massive smile to start the day off right and get the energy going. Then I head off to collect the handover from the previous shift and set up the shift after greeting the service users. Usually I get a few conversations with the service users about what they would want for the day and how we can best support them, before I allocate the shift.
Then the day consists of ensuring all the service users' needs are being met and proactively engaging them to ensure that what they are experiencing is not faced without support. Mostly we would have to de-escalate high levels of aggression and agitation due to distress and bring out the medication on time to all those who need it. As a staff nurse I would be out on the floor attending to what is needed and using my skills to reduce conflict and reflect learning and goals to the service users.
A day on Amber cant go past without some type of dancing or singing so we crack out the speaker and bring some productive high energy to the ward to lift any low spirits and get the staff engaged. Then we wind down the shift ready for the next
What would you say makes your role different than any other at the trust?
Working on a PICU as a staff nurse is quite unique for me and after trying multiple roles around the trust in my student role, and PICU just hits the spot. You get to engage in on the floor crisis care whilst also utilising de-escalation skills and most importantly, helping people at the most intense part of their illness and guiding them towards better health through changing behaviours and setting boundaries.
Some of our wards at SPFT are inpatient like the one at Langley green where you work. What would you say makes this care different than outpatient care?
The Health Care Assistants- the bloodline of the wards and inpatient service. Staying within a care setting is sometimes what is needed for people's wellbeing, but what really makes the care different is the passion and skill of the health care assistance who you would work alongside. They provide, along with the rest of the care team, focused and continual care with love for the service leader. There is always someone there for you if you need it and you get to live within that person's life, rather than just seeing them for an hour or so at a time. You really get to dig into their habits and internal world which you may not usually be able to pick up on in an outpatient setting.
Why is working at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust different than any other place?
Because its based in Sussex. No seriously, its workers do care for the service user and make the time to ensure that patient outcomes are positive and improving. Like I said before, the health care assistants which are recruited are second to none and from what I've seen from my ward, those who come in temporarily or on agency then have the drive to join more regularly
If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing on your first day what would it be?
Get as involved with the service leader as possible! You'll learn more from them than they’ll learn from you