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Joanne McGran

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  • Joanne McGran
  • Senior Nursing Assistant, Mental Health Services, South Eastern HSC Trust

What attracted you to become a Senior Nursing Assistant?

I find this is a job that suits my personality as I get to help people by listening and understanding them.

It is a job that changes from day to day and from minute to minute. When someone says to me "I couldn`t do your job" It gives me a sense of pride.

I don`t do this job for money or praise, I do it because I care and because I enjoy it.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I enjoy all aspects of my job but particularly enjoy working as part of a team.

I work with some very vulnerable people who are treated for a variety of illnesses like depression, anxiety, personality disorder, schizophrenia, drug and alcohol misuse.

I enjoy building therapeutic relationships with patients to encourage trust whilst listening to their concerns.

Part of my job is to respond to distressed patients in a non-threatening manner and understand their emotions when they are unable to rationalise how they are feeling. Although I am trained to use de-escalation techniques, simply letting patients ventilate in a quiet room often helps.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of my job is seeing a person leaving the ward in a better place and with a range of supports from Community Psychiatric Nurses to help them cope in future.

At times it isn’t easy to do my job but often it’s a matter of knowing when to talk and when to just sit back and let a patient vent their emotions.

Tell us about your most memorable moment in your role.

There are so many memorable moments to choose from. So many people and events who have impacted on my life whom I won`t forget. From their outfits, their singing, their comments...

Sometimes you find humour in the oddest of places, and sometimes it’s a laugh and joke that makes all the difference.

The relationships between patients stand out in my mind. Some people find support from others in the same situation as themselves. People look out for each other, both staff and patients.

The many thank you cards and compliments from patients are always a lovely sign of appreciation for the great work done by the team.

How do you see your career developing as a Nursing Assistant?

As a nursing assistant, I see my job as a forever changing job.

Mental health services nowadays have different challenges compared to mental health services 5, 10, or even 20 years ago, but through training and support, I will adapt to meet those challenges.

There are so many different aspects to mental health services so I may move to another care setting, for example dementia care. Whatever I decide to do, I know that I will continue to try my best to make a difference to people`s lives and each person I meet along the way who also helps me develop.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career as a Nursing Assistant?

Look at the patient you are working with, don’t be judgemental of their illness. Be able to build therapeutic relations with patients whilst having the ability to relate to their needs.

This could be any one of us. One in four people suffer from mental ill health at one time or another. Count your blessings that you aren’t one and treat that person in a way you would expect to be treated.

If you were one of the four in the past, remember the person who made a difference for you and follow their lead.

Enjoy your job and go home from every shift with a clear conscience, making sure you have recorded or handed over to your team any concerns.

Allow yourself to leave work behind when you go home.






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