Dave Mullins, Nurse at Ashworth Hospital

I work on a high dependency ward, where each patient’s care plan is personalised to give them what they need to recover; it’s a lot of work, but it’s incredibly rewarding.

Before I came to Ashworth 15 years ago as a healthcare assistant I’d worked in the business sector. But something was always missing. Nursing came naturally to me. I grew up as a carer and the experience has instilled strong values.

Today a patient has found out he’s been considered too unwell to leave the ward for the foreseeable future. I’ll help him to start picking up the pieces, instilling hope that life’s worth living; I’ll spend time with him, listening and helping him focus on the positives – it’s providing care and support when he needs it most.

I don’t ever think about why someone is here; I treat the person in front of me. The ultimate reward is when a patient recovers enough to move to a less secure environment. You think ‘wow, I’ve been a little part of that.’

Another patient has arrived back to us from prison. When he’s well he wants to be in prison but then he stops taking his medication and becomes unwell again.

His illness makes him mistrust people and he’s refusing to accept a drink. I’ve been talking to him over a few days. I offer him a drink, taking some myself to prove it’s okay and telling him to challenge the voices he hears telling him not to drink it. When he refuses I try another approach, giving him another drink in a sealed bottle – finally he takes a sip.

In that moment everything changed, the trust has returned, I’ll go home feeling I’ve achieved something good. It’s often the little things that have the biggest impact.

The end of the day is spent writing up reports – someone comes in with a drink to keep me going and I’m finally ready to go home. It’s been a busy shift, but we are ready to go again tomorrow…