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Staff Nurse

Clinical Practice
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice

Area of Practice

  • Mental Health Nursing


  • Hospital Care

Job/Role Summary

As a Staff Nurse in a Dementia Assessment facility I provide patient-centred care based on the diverse needs and preferences of each of my patients. I take a holistic approach to assessment and plan care around each need identified. I liaise with the multidisciplinary team and appropriately utilise knowledge, skills and best practice from multiple disciplines in order to provide the best care available. When the patient is ready for discharge I offer advice and recommendations to key workers in the community on what interventions  were most effective for the patients. I act as an advocate for my patients to ensure their needs and preferences are met in the community setting. I also provide education to individuals with dementia and their families regarding dementia and the treatment options available. I provide support and guidance to families as this can also be a traumatic time for them.


Specific qualifications and experience required

Registered Mental Health Nurse

Experience working with the older person desirable


Career Milestones

When I qualified I completed the European Certificate in Holistic Dementia Care with Northern Ireland Hospice, this covered the principles and practice for delivering optimal level of care to patients with dementia from diagnosis to end of life care. I learnt a lot on this course and felt that I was able to provide a higher quality of care based on the new knowledge and skills I had gained. I would describe the feeling when a patient improving or becoming more settled and content within their illness as a career milestone as this provides me with a great sense of job satisfaction. 


What attracted you to this job?

Prior to commencing my nurse training I worked in a nursing home that catered for the older person with physical and mental illnesses. I was then that I realised that I enjoyed caring for the elderly and found that my skills lay in this area, I began to develop a good "bedside manner" and communication skills. I feel these individuals deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and I feel I can enhance the care provided within this setting. I also have an interest in the current research and service development currently happening within dementia care.


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

I enjoy working In care of the elderly as I find there is a lot that I can do to enhance the experience of being in hospital for the people I care for. I feel the way care is provided can impact on the way an individual responds to treatment and therefore aim to make it as pleasant as possible for the individual. I enjoy getting to know my patients and hearing about their past experiences. I enjoy how each day I am faced with new challenges and I am constantly problem solving and using decision making skills. I feel I am always learning and changing my practice to provide a better standard of care. I feel I have great support from my team and we work well together. I enjoy the feeling of job satisfaction when I see an improvement in a patient or when I know I have provided a high standard of care. I also enjoy providing support to families and careers, giving them time to ask any questions and time to vent, I feel after this they often feel relieved and more content.


Challenging aspects of the job/role

At times I find my role difficult as you often form good therapeutic relationships with patients and if a patient then deteriorates it can be emotionally very stressful.  Often the patients are admitted to the ward because they have challenging behaviours and this can be stressful as risk assessments are essential in caring for them at this time. 


Important success factors

•Support from the other nursing staff who took time to explain my role to be at the beginning of my post

•Senior members of staff leading by example

•My ward manager is always open and honest and I feel I can approach her with any concerns or queries

•Drive for training and encouragement from management to complete courses that will benefit me

•Openness from other members of the Multi-disiplincary Team who welcomed me into the team


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

I would advise a colleague to come into the role with an open mind, as care of the elderly is not always what it seems. There is immense job satisfaction when working on the ward as no two days are the same and  you are constantly faced with new challenges and have to problem solve daily. It is important to ask questions as the ward team are more than willing to help and they are a great support. It is essential to keep up to date with training and learning on and off the ward.  The patient is always at the centre of their care and we must always try to act in their best interests. In this area of practice it is vital to spend time getting to know patients and their families as this will enhance the care you provide and this is often a difficult time for them. I would also make them aware of the challenges faced on the ward and how it can be emotionally difficult. It is important to have an understanding of dementia  the care provided on the ward so that they are aware of the role and expectations.


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

•           Risk Assessment

•           Effective communication skills

•           Effective multi-disciplinary working

•           Problem solving

•           Decision making skills

•           Effective organisational skills

•           Ability to work on own initiative

•           Time management skills

•           Developed knowledge of dementia and treatments provided

•           Leadership skills

•           Documentation skills

•           Skills with therapeutic intervention

•           Knowledge of physical conditions presenting on the ward

•           Time management skills

•           MAPA techniques

•           Skills using equipment on the ward

•           Skills developing working relationships

•           Moving and handling skills

•           Skills used in the assessment process and knowledge on assessment tools used

•           Care planning skills 


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