Name: Adele Watkins
Job title: Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist for Women and Children
Speciality: Acute child health
Organisation: The Children Hospital for Wales, Cardiff and Vale UHB
What is your current role?
I am the mental health clinical nurse specialist based within the children's hospital for wales. I am employed by acute child health as a dual-qualified children’s and mental health nurse, which I feel has made a difference in improving the care of those children and young people admitted in mental health crisis. I firmly believe the quote that "there is no physical health without mental health" (Wold Health Organization) and this drives my motivation each day.
I had been seeking opportunities to provide more specialist mental health nursing in the hospital for some years ago and, when given the opportunity to explore this need further I found the demand and complexity of cases seen within acute child health were growing. With this in mind I achieved the role of Mental Health CNS in 2017 and since then have continued to strive to improve services for these vulnerable group of C&YP.
While my aim is to improve services for patients the need to end Stigma towards mental health is vital in achieving this. My ongoing support and education for staff has improved attitudes and understanding of staff caring for this group of C&YP on acute paediatrics wards. As I educate them, I also stress the need for supporting their own mental health, as we cannot provide the complex care for the C&YP without meeting the our own needs.
What was your route to this role?
My route into this role was my ongoing drive to bridge the gap between physical and mental health services for children admitted into acute child health in-crisis. I became a duel qualified children and mental health nurse to help achieve this.
What prompted you to do this role?
My ongoing passion to improve this service for these vulnerable group of children and young people.
What education/courses/modules have you undertaken to equip you for the role?
I am a qualified RSCN 2001 Project 2000 Registered Mental Health nurse 2005. Ongoing development courses to aid this role e.g. ASIST, brief suicide intervention training, mental health first aid, violence and aggression.
How do you see yourself developing your skills?
I continue to develop my skills and knowledge to improve patient care by bench marking the service with others. Attendance at both local and national conferences to update knowledge and practice. Attendance at study days and courses applicable to my development.
What is your long-term career plan?
- My long term career plan is to develop this role into a band 7 post
- Develop a team of training professionals within the acute child health setting who have to skills and knowledge to care for these C&YP
- In developing the role, I would also like to see a unit separate from acute medical wards to meet the specific age appropriate needs of the C&YP
What advice would you give someone thinking about moving to work in your area of practice?
It would be an excellent and often challenging opportunity to improve the care of this vulnerable group of young people.
What do you most enjoy about this area of care?
Being able to make even the smallest difference to the care that the young person receives in crisis, so that they move forward with a positive attitude toward seeking further help.