I’ve spent 26 years working in mental healthcare and joined Sussex Partnership in 2010. When I joined, it felt homely, like a family, a community. I felt that from the interview and I still feel it today. There is a hierarchy here, but it isn’t imposing, it’s informal and respected.
The training has been fantastic and I have been able to change paths. The Trust has been very understanding about how your work needs to fit with the realities of your whole life. There are great chances here to progress. I would like to train further in business administration, as I’ve enjoyed the strategic planning that comes with this role. It’s a great trust to join because of its scale and reach, you can move around our services and geography. It’s always moving forward, due to the research projects we are involved with and new ideas being adopted.
Although my current role as bed manager is not patient facing, I still draw upon my clinical experience. I still go and see the patients, and spend a little time with them. I have learnt I have as much impact on patient care now as I used to have working on the ward. My decisions affect everyone − the sooner they get the bed they need, the better. My work frees up staff and beds and means the staff can get to more people, more quickly.
The team is tight knit. We are happy and relaxed and that atmosphere helps the patients. I feel proud of the way the team deals with difficult incidents and yet retains the dignity of the patient at all times. We work under pressure but the patient is always at the core of what we do. You need to be interested in people, it wouldn’t work otherwise. Everybody’s opinion counts, we all have a voice. We all play a vital role and without one of us, it wouldn’t work.
I keep a thank you card on my door made by a long-term patient. It reminds me of why I am here, to make a difference to people. To know that at their lowest we made a difference, we brought stability, is important. It’s as simple as that.