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Hear from our staff

Explore what a career in healthcare is really like here from our colleagues in the blogs below. If you're interested in applying, you can also view all our vacancies on NHS jobs.

A career in Older Adult Mental Health Nursing

Not everyone’s first career choice...

''My name is Peter, I work as an Older Adult Mental Health Nurse at the Stonebow Unit in Hereford. To help you understand how I found my current role I want to take you all back a few years first;

Imagine you’re in foster care, just left school at 16, with a pretty unimpressive array of CSE’s and an even worse school report. Well, contrary to the popular saying, I didn't feel the world was my Oyster!

However, I had my plans and I’d already passed a selection to join the Army as a ‘Junior Soldier’ at the Royal Signals Army Apprentice College. So off I went and completed basic and trade training. The army instilled a sense of pride, purpose and belief that you can accomplish goals and personal achievements with the right mindset.  

I then went to Germany to serve in an Electronic Warfare Signals Regiment. I guess for all you young ones, it’s probably like ‘Call Of Duty’ but with real people. I also found I was quite a gifted athlete, and generally achieved what I set out to do.

With my progress through Royal Signals skills, and my ‘get up and go’, my next calling was to serve with a well-known military regiment in Hereford.  By 30, I was married and decided to leave the Army, settled down in Hereford, start a family and a new venture.

I decided to train to become a Department of Transport Approved Driving Instructor, that was quite enjoyable, started a small driving school and things were going ‘okay’ but something was lacking after being in the forces for 14 years.

To contribute to the community in the evenings I became a Youth Worker, I enjoyed that and trained over the next few years gain qualifications in youth work and counselling. I also volunterred with the local Youth Offending Team, and sat of Youth Justice Reparation panels, perhaps in some way an atonement to some of my own wayward youthful experiences.

So where was I?  Perhaps it wasn’t the driving instruction that I enjoyed - but more the ‘just being with people’ and helping them in an intrinsic sort of way. Then one day I was reading the local paper, (as you did before the internet) and squashed in between the obituaries and the latest updates on the parish meetings was an article describing what being a Mental Health Nurse was all about.

The ad mentionned that so long as you’ve got a good life experience, dealt with life’s problems and could help other people in crisis, regardless of your age - come on down and have an assessment. 

You get those moments in life when everything just falls in place. The classic; ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ comes along; Only that’s just half of it. You must act in ‘the lifetime of that opportunity’.

So, I guess you see how things happen in life; sometimes things never turn out the way you plan, you get that odd ‘curved ball’ when you’re not expecting it. So why Older Adult Mental Health Nursing? By the time I’d finished my training I was too old to hang out on the skate parks with the young ones!  No seriously - although there is some truth in that, I have more of an affinity to Older Adults and their associated conditions. To me it epitomises the holistic approach to nursing reinforcing the conceptual notion that nursing is more than just a job, it is that harmonisation between art and science. 

I work on an Older Adult ward for organic illness, with a very supportive team, in ways like a family, in fact during Covid lockdowns they practically were my family. 

Now I guess in the twilight of my career, I spend time mentoring the new Student Nurses impassioning my own enthusiasm and belief that this is a valuable and worthy career with great pride.    

So my final message, you can’t re-live your past, but you can control your future, my children take inspiration by what I do and I am proud to say that my daughter is following in my footsteps.''

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