“We have the ability to create hope when there feels like there is none” – celebrating our mental health nurses
Today, Tuesday 21 February 2023, marks the fifth annual Mental Health Nurses’ Day. The day is an opportunity to honour this unique, remarkable and impactful profession.
To celebrate Mental Health Nurses’ Day, we spoke to lecturer Lyndsey Rosson about her inspiration, motivation and career journey.
What inspired you to become a mental health nurse?
“I come from a family with a long history of working in health and social care. I was always very creative and always one to think more abstractly, so this pushed me towards wanting to have a creative career but a meaningful one too. I wanted to help people but creatively. I knew about the role of a nurse, but when I found out about what mental health nurses did, I realised, that's for me, I'm doing it and I have never looked back.”
Can you tell us a bit about your career path to date?
“After qualifying in 2008, I worked as a community mental health nurse, in an acute ward, and on an intensive care unit. During this time, I completed a degree in therapeutic interventions and a master's in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a type of talking therapy. This meant I could be more creative in my work with patients.
“I then worked as a CBT therapist in prison, but I couldn't settle there as I felt my creativity was hampered by the security restrictions. This didn't stop me, though; one of my fondest memories there was one guy telling me how he used a Beyonce music video to help with grounding!
“I then moved to be a mental health advisor at another university, where I worked with students with mental health problems. This was such an amazing outlet for my creativity and in working with the students, I knew I had found my favourite client group. Seeing the metaphorical pennies drop when someone starts to understand their experiences or realise that things can get better was everything to me. We worked on prevention, promotion and protection, and this experience led me to complete a PhD in student mental health, I loved it that much.
“I knew for a long time that I wanted to do research. I was near completion of my master's and a lecturer practitioner post was advertised. This sparked instant joy as I wasn't ready to leave practice but did feel ready to start pursuing an academic role.”
What do you enjoy most about being a mental health nurse?
“The ability to create hope when there feels like there is none. I still work clinically with the ambulance service and being able to install hope during an emergency literally saves lives."
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in mental health nursing?
“Stick to being your authentic self. If you want to help people while having the freedom to do it creatively, then do mental health nursing. Be bold and brave. Using your skills with someone to turn their life around is both a privilege and a superpower!”
Picture caption: Lyndsey Rosson alongside colleagues from the ambulance service
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