Inspirational Stories

Bette McMullan

Bette is a mental health nurse who has gone on to become a team leader for a community team and day hospital. She currently works at Ards Hospital.

She completed her Registed Mental Health Nurse (RMN) training at Holywell on an 18 month course. She also undertook her diploma and degree BSc Hons Professional Develpoment in Nursing at University of Ulster Jordanstown.

Her story tells us of the rewarding challenge of mental health nursing. If you are interested in becoming a mental health nurse check out the Mental Health section.

Bette McMullan

Bette's Story

My father advised me some time ago not to be a nurse. He had three sisters who all had gone into nursing so he talked with some experience of what he could see nursing as. Did I take his advice, No! Why not? I wanted a career; a job that would ensure some security and would not be routine and would be challenging and would give me opportunities and yes I wanted to care for people.

Has it been all of these? Yes and much, much more. Nursing is hard work mentally and physically but also extremely rewarding when you have the privilege to work with people (the ones I still call patients) and their families. You see people at their most vulnerable and they want you to be kind, understanding, professional and honest. All of this leads them to their end recovery.

There has been much positive change in mental health nursing in the midst of reform changes. In mental health we work to ensure patients see hope and recovery clearly in their treatment plan and we encourage family to be involved.

I trained as a Registed General Nurse (RGN) and initially worked in a children’s ward, which had adult patients who all came for ear,nose and throat surgery and treatment. I was interested in the care and treatment of patients with cancer so then went on to do the oncology course. On my return I used these expertise to work with individuals who had neck resection surgery.

As a student I had enjoyed my mental health placement. I applied and was offered a place to complete my Registed Mental Health Nurse (RMN) training. On qualifying I worked as a staff nurse in acute admission for 4 years then moved to a Day Hospital. I have worked as a nurse therapist with a psychology team in the community and as a manager of a mental health day hospital and mental health inpatient unit.

Nursing continues to be demanding but I know that when anyone of us is ill or has some we love ill we want the best of care from staff who know what they are doing. Nursing is rewarding and yet challenging and that we must keep in mind what Florence Nightingale reportedly said "to do the patient no harm." Do I want to be a nurse – YES!

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