I started a new job a few weeks ago for my local NHS Trust and it’s fair to say that I had a fully new experience this week. I spent the week working in a secure mental health hospital. 😳
I was working as part of a project team assisting with the implementation of a new IT system and so I spent the week working on the wards, helping the staff.
I have to admit I was more than a little nervous on my first day on the ward as I had NO idea what to expect. I have had some experience of working in a secure environment as I worked in a prison in Liverpool about 18 years ago, but that was a long time ago and I still was very unsure of what it would be like.
I was working on the only female ward in the hospital and for security reasons, I can’t tell you too much about how it worked, but I did want to share how it felt. The ward I was on only accommodated a small amount of patients, who all had their own rooms. There was a communal area with a TV and a place to eat if the patients wanted to socialize. The patients were of various ages but all seemed to get along with each and it felt more like a dormitory.
It did make me think, yet again, that mental illness is often ignored and dismissed, as it’s invisible. If I met any of the women in the street that I met in hospital, I would have had NO idea they were unwell.
Mental illness and Mental wellness look identical.
But it was the way the staff treated the patients that struck me, as I was touched by how incredibly kind and caring the nursing staff were with each and every patient. They had obviously built up a rapport with the patients and every request was met with a kind word, a warm response and sense of humor.
I can’t imagine this is easy – some of the questions or requests from patients were insistent and caused interruptions in what we were doing but everyone was treated with respect and kindness.
So I just wanted to say how bloody magnificent the NHS is and if I ever found myself so unwell I needed this type of specialist hospital, I could rest assured I would be well looked after….. FOR FREE!