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Student mental health nurse Jasmine shares her journey

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in Mental health, News on 13th December, 2019

Hello, my name is Jasmine and I’m in my second year at Plymouth University studying to be a Mental Health Nurse.

I decided to become a Mental Health Nurse after working in pastoral care within a secondary school. During this time, I had a lot of interactions with Mental Health Nurses and other professionals, and I was inspired by the work they carried out. I love working with people and it just clicked that nursing was what I wanted to do.

I joined Plymouth University in September 2018. Going back to university as a mature student was challenging and it took some time to adjust, but I am passionate about achieving my qualification and getting to where I want to be, which has really helped with any difficulties so far. It’s about finding that balance in life/work and so far I’ve enjoyed my studies and placements.

I was based with Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for my first year, on Rydon Ward (adult acute inpatient) and Pryland (OPMH functional and dementia inpatient). This was my first experience in healthcare, and was completely eye opening as I hit the ground running. It also showed me that this was definitely the right line of work for me. I spent around ten weeks on each ward, learning about different mental health diagnoses, risk management and therapeutic ways to support patients during difficult times.

For my second (and third) year of placements, I have now switched to Devon Partnership NHS Trust. I am currently working on Avon Ward at Langdon Hospital in Dawlish, where the organisation’s Secure Services are situated. Our Secure or Forensic Services provide support for men from Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly who have come into contact with the legal system because of their mental health needs. Avon is a 14-bed low secure unit, one of four inpatient locations at Langdon. 

I joined the team in October and am here until Christmas. The team have been excellent in supporting me and making me feel welcome, and I feel like a valued member of the team. During my time on Avon, I have been included in different aspects of nursing such as involvement in care plans, 1-1 time with patients, assessments and medication rounds. I am also going to Exeter Prison in a couple of weeks to experience Mental Health Nursing there for a few days. 

One of the tasks that I have enjoyed during my placement has been my role as shift lead/Nurse in Charge. The role involves planning for the day ahead, delegating tasks and activities for the day and arranging appropriate support. I have really enjoyed this because it’s given me a real insight into what to expect once I'm qualified. Taking on this task has really increased my confidence in my role and on the ward, and made me feel less like a student and more like a nurse. I am proud to be making a contribution to the team and supporting patient care.

I have felt very supported throughout my time here at Langdon, including the support I have received from the Practice Education team. Here at Langdon, students on placement are offered bi-weekly supervisions where we meet with our peers and the Practice Education team. In these meetings, we share our experiences of working here, discuss positives, challenges and any areas we might need support in. This forum is also used as a way to catch up with our peers which is nice as we get to reflect honestly and exchange stories with people in a similar position.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when starting placement at a forensic site, as you always hear stories and mixed views. Now, I can wholeheartedly say that my experience at Langdon has been great and not what I was expecting. I have felt supported, included and I have increased my understanding of different aspects of mental health. I started my placement not knowing much about forensic mental health to now feeling more confident in my knowledge and understanding of the service and the importance of individual patient-centred care that happens here. I am really enjoying my placement and Secure Services is an area I am considering working in once I am qualified.