What Our Staff Say About Secure Services

Medium Secure Unit Mental Health Nurse Oladayo on his advice to new colleagues…

No two days are the same and what works one day may not the next. Strong communication is the basis of everything we do. If someone tells you to go away and leave them alone, do that. If they ask to talk to you, be ready to listen.

I can understand why people might be apprehensive – I was myself until I came on a placement. That’s when the story changed for me.

Now I say ‘don’t worry. You don’t start driving efficiently the day you pass your test and you’ll have vastly experienced people to help you’.

When someone does make progress and you can see where the person may be in six months time you feel privileged to have empowered and given hope to someone else.

Clinical and Nursing Improvement Lead Chen Shoko talks about her career change - and what it takes to be a forensic mental health nurse.

My background is teaching but becoming a nurse is the best decision I ever made. I go home with a sense of pride, of having contributed to someone’s life in a meaningful way, and that brings me joy.

To be a forensic mental health nurse you have to have compassion and instil hope –be interested in little things. The people we care for often feel like they’ve come to the end of the road. They’ve been disconnected from others, including those they find dear. For us it’s about recovery, giving those people hope, making them feel like they’re part of something much bigger than they’re used to.

You need to think outside the box, have a big heart and want to be the ‘someone’ people can look up to. It’s about enthusiasm, being interested in the little things, looking at the person as an individual, and absolutely believing we can do what’s right.

We are lucky to work somewhere peaceful, tranquil, with beautiful grounds, but it’s when you begin to explore the people and the culture that you’re really blown away.

Right from the start you’ll talk about career progression – we grow our own, from apprenticeships to masters degrees. If you’re thinking about forensic mental health nursing I’d say… just do it!

Nurse Associate Kyle Gornell talks about why he loves his job

I work with a great team, there’s a sense of security, no matter what happens I know I can talk to someone. The best part is when someone becomes well. It can take a long time, but if you engage, have good one to one discussions with doctors, develop good observation skills – and make time for a good chat.

Just recently we helped a patient to go outside for the first time in a long time. I and a colleague worked with him every day and through that continual encouragement he eventually went outside – it was a real breakthrough and to see him do something most of us take for granted was so rewarding.

It can be challenging, I might have a moan after a long day, but I always go home excited that I’m coming back tomorrow...

Deputy Manager of Mersey Care’s Forensic Outreach service John Morrison on job satisfaction

I see people every step of the way, from when they arrive on the medium secure unit, progressing to the step down unit and then starting a life out in the community. It can be challenging, but I get to see where they were at the beginning and watch them developing relationships with their families, going to college, taking up volunteer roles. It’s because they’ve had the right support that they’ve been able to do it. That makes me proud of the role I’ve played.

I’m lucky to have such excellent opportunities, to study and be supported to progress from a staff nurse to a management role. The new state of the art medium secure unit really is a once in a lifetime career opportunity for someone coming in now. You’ll have incredible facilities, new ways of nursing and knowledgeable experienced staff who’ll help you every step of the way… 

Medium Secure Unit Ward Manager Eve Mousley on her role

It’s my job to support staff looking after up to eight women on my ward. It’s important the team feels empowered to work autonomously, take ownership and influence care - but also that staff feel comfortable to approach me and ask for support.

The Trust is constantly looking at opportunities for people to develop; I’m currently doing a masters degree at Liverpool University.

You get to broaden your skills and knowledge and work collaboratively. I’m lucky to work with a fantastic team, people here love their job – they come to work wanting to make a difference. I feel secure knowing that whatever happens I’ll be supported by everyone, from senior consultants, my matron, and the nurses and nursing assistants on my ward. 

I’m looking forward to working in the new medium secure unit Rowan View. It’ll give staff the chance to achieve things that haven’t been possible before and give patients the quality of life they deserve. There’ll be things like virtual reality headsets for people who can’t go outside, and touch screens in their rooms so they can stay connected with their families.

Many of our patients have got to the point where they can’t see past the awful things that have happened to them. They may have resorted to violence or self harm as a coping strategy. It’s exciting to think that we’ve helped them to manage challenging feelings in other ways and start to build a life again…