“I have worked in healthcare for many years now. I started out working as a mental health support worker, which was inspired by my grandmother who worked as a nurse and my uncle who suffered from schizophrenia.
“My uncle had an extremely hard time adjusting with his new diagnosis and it started to affect his physical health as well. It appeared to me that the nursing teams treating him had very little understanding of mental health and were only able to treat his physical health needs.
“I believe that we should be treating the patient holistically and not separating the mind and the body. I believe that my experiences, throughout my mental health career and now my physical health career, can ultimately help to treat all my patients equally and holistically to increase patient standards and overall experience.”
Stuart has recently completed his Nurse Associate training and is continuing his career progression with GMMH by attending Bolton University to complete his top up nursing degree as a Registered General Nurse, which he has started this year.
“I have grown massively in my understanding and knowledge. I love my job and I would never change anything about it. I truly believe I have found my dream job.”
My experience studying toward my degree
“I have had to completely adjust to learning again since leaving high school back in 1993 with not great GCSE results. I originally applied for the band four Assistant Practitioner back in 2016/17 when I started working at the prison but wasn't successful. This inspired me to go back to college to gain the qualifications I needed to get on to the next step of my career.
“After completing the GCSE qualifications required, I learned about a new career route to nursing degree through the Nurse Associate route. I applied and was successful and my new career started.
“During my studies at Liverpool John Moore’s University I found it challenging and very daunting at first, I had never used referencing before or been part of such a vast academic study group, however I soon adapted. I loved my experiences throughout university. Placements were amazing. They really made me feel part of their family.
“However, I must admit that not all my experiences were great. When covid struck the nation, everything stopped with university. They had to adapt and convert most things to online learning. I was in my final six months as a Trainee Nursing Associate and still required two placements to qualify. University stopped all placements from happening and was even thinking about postponing my university course altogether. However, we managed to change the universities' mind, but it required a lot of persuasion and a massive amount of help from the healthcare management team at Garth and the Practice Education Facilitator team at GMMH. We managed to persuade the university to allow my final placements to take place within the Trust.
“I'm now nearly two years qualified as a nurse associate and ready for the next step in my career.”
“I find that working as part of a multidisciplinary team between prison staff and healthcare staff makes all the difference. Having a good rapport with all teams helps massively. And treating patients with the respect they deserve goes a long way.”
“A typical day at HMP Garth starts with medication rounds. Once medication rounds have been completed the clinic day starts. We then run patient centred clinics from GP; Long term condition; Nurse led; venepuncture; wound management; weight management; NHS health check clinics as well as other services from Mental Health; Integrated Drug Treatment Service; Optician; Podiatrist; and Dental. On top of all the clinics, we have an emergency response unit which consists of patients in crisis; self-harm; patient's unwell and patients critically unwell.
“The healthcare team within a prison setting is typically what you would find within the community.
“I'm a true believer in giving people a second chance in life.”
“I love aspects of my job within the health and justice sector, however, one of the most rewarding sections of my job is the ability to help patients that the rest of society have given up on. Life is about learning and making the right choices throughout it. Some people make the wrong choices, but it doesn't mean we should give up on them. If I can change one person's life, we are one step closer to perfection.
“Another part of my job that I feel helps with success in my role is the team members I work with. We are very close and supportive of each other; in some ways they feel like the family I adopted.”