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Spotlight on... a Mental Health Practitioner

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 5 years ago
  • Author:by Andrew Wiles

Here at Service Care Solutions we cover such a broad range of roles that we thought it may be helpful to give prospective job seekers an insight into different jobs and areas of work. One of the things we pride ourselves in is that we are specialists within certain industries and services.

A prime example of this is the mental health care arena, one of the largest divisions in our company. We understand the specialist care and knowledge that is required within both private and NHS services and, because of this, we are the ‘master vendor’ for many healthcare trusts and providers. We source and look after a variety of roles, from health care assistants to community psychiatric nurses.

We recently caught up with one of our Health Care Practitioners based in South Yorkshire, and he kindly agreed to speak to us about his day to day role.

How did you find your job with Service Care Solutions and what is your background?

I used to work in a nursing home so I knew I wanted to do something with a care aspect. Whilst working with the elderly, I came across some guests with mental illness and I found working with them the most rewarding. This lead me to seek a job within this sector so I embarked on an NVQ in Health and Social Care and qualified in Level 2. I found the position with SCS through Indeed and I haven’t looked back since!

What does your average day look like?

I’m currently working night shifts so I get to work at around 8.30pm and leave around 7.30-8.00am. The shifts are what is know as ‘waking nights’ – essentially it means that we are providing round the clock care to our service users.

The shift starts with a handover meeting in the handover office. The nurse in charge runs the meeting and we listen and take notes – he/she will fill us in on anything that has happened during the day with current service users or brief us of any discharges or admissions.

We then go round in pairs taking physical observations of the service users (I.e. blood pressure, heart rate etc.) and then serve drinks and evening snacks. The nurse in charge appoints all the ward staff to patients and this could either be on a 2 to 1 or 1 to 1 basis, depending of the level of care the patient requires. Some patients have been sectioned under section 3 of the mental health act and can be a risk to others or to themselves so this needs to be taken into account at all times. Some of the patients sleep soundly til morning; if this is the case, we make sure we stay in close proximity to them, without being too intrusive, but can read a book or similar to while away the hours. Some like to chat and I have developed quite close relationships to some patients which is a part of the role I really like. There is a fine line between getting emotionally involved and keeping the relationship professional though so it’s something prospective HCPs need to be aware of.

We get a one hour break every 3-4 hours if the shift is fully staffed and nothing completely out of the ordinary happens. As we are dealing with people that are most likely unwell, emergencies can crop up but I understand this is part of the role.

In the morning, people tend to start waking up around 7am so we do their physical obs again and have another handover meeting with the day shift staff.

How have you found working through Service Care Solutions?

I would really recommend working with SCS. My consultant is Lucy Winstanley and she has been really helpful and I can’t fault the service. She touches base with me regularly to see how I’m getting on and I feel very supported.

What do you enjoy most about this job?

I enjoy working with people most of all. It’s really rewarding to see the progress people go through and see them improve (in the main) whilst in our care. Seeing them go home after a lengthy stay is fantastic. I also like the flexibility that working for SCS affords me; if my life changes, Lucy is more than happy to find shifts that suit me.

What would you say are the most challenging things about your role?

It can be hard working with vulnerable people that can have challenging behaviour and there is an element of unpredictability involved. Sometimes working nights can be tiring but you get used to it!

What would you say are the main qualities needed for a role within Mental Health?

I think it goes without saying that a caring nature is a must, along with patience. I would advise anyone thinking of working in Mental Health to get some experience first to see if you like it because the things learnt in a classroom are very different to actually seeing things ‘on the job’. If you like working with people, enjoy building relationships and want the flexibility that shift work can give you then I would definitely recommend you give it a try.

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