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The challenges and rewards of mental health nursing

Frankston Hospital, mental health nurse

Jaimi Rogers at 2 West, Frankston Hospital

Ever wondered what it is like to work as a mental health nurse? In this Q&A, Jaimi explains what her job involves and shares her passion for working in this area at Peninsula Health.

Name: Jaimi Rogers

Job: Endorsed Enrolled Nurse- Mental Health

How long have you worked at Peninsula Health?

I have worked at Peninsula Health for just over a year and a half now. In May 2015 I successfully landed my first nursing role in Peninsula Health’s Acuity Response Team. Through this role I found myself working across Peninsula Health sites, including their acute mental health ward 2 West. Ecstatic with the opportunity to find myself in such a position, I was soon offered a contract to work on 2 West, where I now have a permanent position.

What does a typical day or shift in your job involve?

A typical day in my job involves:

  • Engaging with my clients, building therapeutic relationships to assist in enabling recovery based care.
  • Working alongside multidisciplinary teams to ensure our clients receive the up most care during their stay.
  • Providing education and support to clients and their families/ carers regarding medications, living with a mental illness, ongoing support services available and assisting them to gain the skills and tools they need to achieve the best quality of life.
  • Not forgetting documentation and ensuring adequate time management!

Why did you decide to pursue a career in mental health nursing?

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to pursue a career within the mental health industry. There are a wide range of mental health illnesses and unfortunately not enough knowledge or support out there for the growing number of people affected. I felt I had the interest, the personal experiences and the passion to carve my path into the industry through nursing where I can work together with those affected and be part of the movement of having mental health illnesses acknowledged and recognised.

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

There are many things I enjoy most about my role in 2 West, from building the necessary relationships with not only the clients but our team as a whole, working together to achieve the same outcome and being part of a supportive environment. But it is also satisfying being part of another’s journey to recovery, observing the changes from when a client is first admitted, whether it’s their first time or they have been in before, until they are able to go home and have the opportunity to live a life of quality knowing that there is support out there when and if they need it.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

The most challenging part of my role, for me, would have to be the days when the acuity of the ward is high with challenging behaviours of concern. However, coinciding with a supportive team, education and training, these days for me become a time of reflection on myself as a nurse and how I could learn, improve and implement new skills to assist the ongoing safety of our clients, team and self.

What would you say to other nurses considering following in your footsteps and becoming a mental health nurse?

For other nurses considering following my footsteps and becoming a mental health nurse, I would say go for it. We need to work together to provide support for those suffering from mental illnesses and remove the stigma associated with mental health. I was and still am passionate about my career choice and every day I learn something new, meet someone new and there is always something to make me smile and be thankful for.

What do you like most about working at Peninsula Health?

There are many things I like about working at Peninsula Health; from the simple pleasure of being able to see the beach while traveling too work, to the ongoing professional development support and access to a wide range of further education opportunities, and the values Peninsula Health provides to employees and consumers of service, integrity, compassion, respect, and excellence. Last of all, what I like most about working at Peninsula Health is the amazing team I get to work with every day.

If you’d like to work with Jaimi and the acute mental health team at Peninsula Health, there are currently two positions available – Registered Nurse (Mental Health) and Endorsed Enrolled Nurse (Mental Health). Both positions are open until 20 October, so if you are interested in joining the team make sure you submit your application before then.