My Name is Stacey and I have been working at the Assessment and Treatment Unit, based at Lexden Hospital for five years.
In this time, I have had the opportunity to progress with a career in nursing and have qualified as a Nursing Associate. Now I am just in the process of undertaking my nurse training in order to obtain a full degree to become a Mental Health Nurse. I have the privilege of working alongside an amazing team of Health Care Assistants, Nurses and other healthcare professionals. The trust has continued to support me in my career progression and I look forward to working at the Assessment and Treatment Unit at Lexden as a fully qualified nurse in 2022!
During my time at Lexden Hospital, I have worked within a wonderful team who have shown me the true meaning of teamwork, especially during a pandemic where we had to adapt quickly to overcome challenges. I have also met some amazing people who have used our services!
I am somewhere in between a Nurse and a Healthcare Assistant… The role is still being defined and we are working out how best to utilise a Nursing Associate within an inpatient unit. It is still a very new role, but the great thing about it is that it is a flexible role which can change from day to day depending on the needs of the unit and the team. It is a role that allows flexibility and the opportunity to learn extra skills such as in the area of physical health care.
Some days I will assist Nurses by administering medication and helping with care plans and other paperwork, other days I am needed to assist the HCA’s and have the luxury of spending quality time with people who use our service doing the fun stuff! It is always busy!
My feet hardly touch the ground, and that’s how I like it!
I am able to support the nurses more when they are under pressure, sharing their workload, but also still getting to do the parts I enjoy, which is the 1:1 interaction with the people who use our service. In addition, with the training I have had and my extra skills in understanding physical health issues, I feel I can also provide better care.
On a unit where we care for people with complex needs, it can get exhausting and there are difficult situations that arise. You need to use all of your skills and energy to deal with those situations. Some days can be very tough, but that just makes it more rewarding when you see people leaving hospital knowing the effort you have had to put in to support them to their discharge.
No one has ever described nursing as a “glamorous job,” and there is a good reason for that! But the people, experiences and opportunities far outweigh the challenges.
Your colleagues and your team are your support net! We overcome the challenges together, and no one is left behind!
I receive regular supervision and the Trust offers a network of additional support through different services that can be accessed, including therapies and mindfulness if you need that support. I am fortunate I have never needed to access these services, but I know they are there if I need them!
Being able to relate to people and having great communication skills is a must! Understanding physical health is the main component of the Nursing Associate role and the skills you acquire are useful when you are caring for people who need their health monitored closely due to their medication, or who have conditions such as epilepsy or diabetes.
My role led me to the next step up the career ladder, and I am currently undertaking my top up to complete my full nursing degree! The thing about being a Nursing Associate is that you can work as an Nursing Associate in ANY health care environment, and it provides you with experiences you might not have had the opportunity to gain.
The extra responsibilities you are given provide you with the opportunity to gain further experience and I have been able to act as a supervisor to my colleagues and also support other students in their learning journey!
Use this as a stepping stone in your career progression! You would miss out on some amazing learning opportunities and experiences if you went and did your qualified nurse training immediately. Becoming a Nursing Associate provides you with the confidence boost you need and exposes you gently to the extra responsibility that will be expected of you when you reach your goal as a qualified nurse (if that is the path you choose!)