I have always wanted to get into nursing, and have never regretted it. My journey into child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) is different to a lot of people. I trained as a general nurse and I spent a lot of my nursing career in the community. I spent many years working in health visiting and eventually became a practice teacher within that field, teaching student health visitors.
I have always had a passion for safeguarding and so embarked on a health visiting safe guarding role in social care, a joint initiative between health and social care to try and bridge those links. From there I went into a management role, initially in health visiting and eventually became the named nurse for children in safeguarding. So, it doesn’t look like the traditional route into a role like mine, a Modern Matron at a medium secure forensic unit in CAMHS, but I took on this role because I really wanted a new challenge and I believe my skillset was very transferable. I was a bit apprehensive that I don’t have any mental health training; however I think I can bring a new perspective to this unit through my role. I am surrounded by mental health experts and they provide me with that support from a clinical mental health perspective, I am able to focus on quality assurance, leadership and safeguarding.
I am still learning every day here, which after such a varied career is such a fantastic thing. I went downstairs onto the ward yesterday and the nurses were doing their beauty sessions with the young people. All of the nurses were sat with face masks on and head bands, and it just made me think wow, that’s really what CAMHs is all about, that is what this unit is really about.
Yes we do have bad days and challenging times and it can be intimidating at first. But with the right training and the right outlook, CAMHS can be an enormously fulfilling career.