I began my nursing career in 1987, training as a learning disability nurse. After qualifying I worked on a unit providing respite care for children with moderate to profound learning disabilities. I also worked as a community learning disability nurse, supporting families and carers of children and adults with learning disabilities.
After nine years in LD nursing, I trained as a mental health nurse and on qualifying I spent the majority of my time working with people with dementia in the NHS. I worked in both inpatient settings and in a day hospital. Whilst working in the day hospital I worked on the introduction of day provision for people (aged over 65) who have functional mental illnesses, this formed part of my 'work based learning' module, and was successfully implemented, eventually increasing to a two day per week provision. During my time in this area, I completed my nursing degree, and my dissertation focussed on the ways in which the day hospital supported (or could improve upon support for) the identified coping strategies of family carers of people with dementia.
I have also worked in a regional secure unit, providing care for people who require mental health nursing care in a secure setting.
Prior to joining the teaching staff at the UEA in 2007, I spent two years as a care co-ordinator in a community mental health team, supporting working age adults. During my time with this team, I developed a particular interest in working with people with a diagnosis of 'borderline personality disorder'.
I have always had an interest in nurse education, and during my time in practice I was an active mentor for student nurses, and worked with a range of students including those studying mental health, adult and learning disability fields, return to practice nurses, enrolled nurse conversion students and those on the modified branch programme in mental health.
I represent the mental health field as an admissions officer, and for Occupational health issues. I am also an investigating officer for concerns regarding fitness for practice issues.
I have an interest in dementia, and as well as teaching this on our pre registration nursing programme, I also lead the module 'exploring the foundations of person centred dementia care'. This is the first module in the PG Cert in leadership in dementia care course. Prior to this I ran the 'dementia studies' post registration module. I am module lead for module one of the pre registration nursing course (January intake) and I have a keen interest in teaching the essential skills of nursing.