Mary Docherty - BSc Mental Health Nurse - NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
Training as a Mental Health Nurse
I began working for the NHS at the Inverclyde Community Learning Disability Team (CLDT) as a Physiotherapy Assistant, providing support delegated by the Specialist Physiotherapist to adults with Learning Disabilities within the community. I enjoyed my work immensely but had an ambition to train as a Mental Health Nurse.
A secondment opportunity arose in 2010 and, with the support of my manager, I began the challenge of a three year course at the University of West of Scotland Paisley campus. Along with this came the knowledge that job prospects for newly qualified nurses were limited, however, at the end of my first year of training I was to return to my post at the CLDT or resign to achieve my goal: I chose the latter. In September 2012, I gained a BSc in Mental Health Nursing with Distinction. All the hard work had paid off.
However, as predicted job vacancies, within the NHS were scarce.
Prior to completing my training, lecturers informed us of the Scottish Government’s One Year Job Guarantee Scheme (OYJG), introduced to assist newly qualified practitioners with progression into employment, enhancing opportunities for developing, knowledge, skills and confidence through practising as a registered nurse for a period of 12 months, two six month rotations on a 22.5 hours per week basis.
I applied and, when interviewed, discussed an identified a gap in my knowledge in that I had never been placed in the specialist area of addictions. Subsequently I was delighted to have my first rotation in an Integrated Community Alcohol Team. Here my mentor helped create the right learning environment and identify leaning outcomes required for me to practise competently and deliver safe effective care to individuals experiencing or living with addiction.
In support of my PDP, I used the NES’s Scotland’s Flying Start® e-learning development programme allowing me to evidence, reflect and evaluate my practice through core competencies. Furthermore my time as an intern prepared me for any upcoming interviews, using my experience to speak confidently about my practice and the qualities required to support the many vulnerable people who experience Mental Health problems. As a result, I am delighted that I have recently been successful in gaining a permanent NHS post as a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) at a local Community Mental Health Team.