This week's Western Trust Nightingale is Jennifer Jordan from the Primary Care Liaison Team at Old Bridge House, Derry.
"Tell us about yourself and your work
My name is Jennifer Jordan and I have been employed as a mental health nurse for the previous 7 years within the Western Trust. I worked within the Psychiatric inpatient hospital initially, where I had the opportunity to treat some of our most vulnerable and unwell patient groups within psychiatry. I have recently began working within the community Primary care team, that is usually the first service a patient will experience within mental health.
Whilst working full time, I have recently completed a self-funded post grad diploma within nursing with plans to continue on to complete my masters despite the ongoing adaptions that are being made to facilitate COVID-19 restrictions. I believe as a nurse in lifelong learning and am excited at the prospect of undertaking a masters this year.
I know it has been a particularly challenging couple of months for all health care workers due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can you explain what has changed in your role? What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job?
Due to the ongoing pandemic I had been redeployed temporarily for 6 weeks within the Crisis service to help carry out emergency crisis assessments. This involved being on the front line during the peak of the pandemic and it was a privilege to be working alongside my local psychiatry hospital Grangewood and my nursing colleagues in A&E.
All health care staff have risen to the challenges faced by this global pandemic. Many traditional services have had to be stopped or done in a different way either via telephone or virtual clinics. Have you experienced this in your role and how do you think this has or hasn’t worked?
After the initial peak of cases I returned to work within primary care. We have continued to see patients with PPE face to face. I feel this is an important aspect within mental health in order to objectively carry out a mental state assessment, build that relationship with the individual and to be able to put an effective plan in place. Understandably, if the individual was not comfortable to leave their home to ensure they were not missing out on their appointment a telephone consultation was then offered.
I have utilised virtual spaces when needed for meetings with other professionals including with my fellow Nightingales. Being able to link in to meetings peripherally has meant they are much easier to fit into the working schedule and have been largely successful.
Looking forward to the next year or so - what would you like to see achieved in Health and Social Care?
Regarding the Pandemic crisis, I am hopeful that in the next year, mental health services will be supported whilst trying to cope with the aftermath and ongoing pressures that will emerge. Speaking more generally, within Psychiatry in recent years there has been greater recognition of physical health monitoring within our vulnerable population.
What advice would you give to the public on how they can help the NHS deal with the ongoing pandemic in the months ahead?
My advice to the general population at this stage is to be mindful of your safety and safety of others around you. As restrictions are relaxed I hope the general population will continue to be mindful of the safety of others.
I hope that as professionals we can also reflect on things we have improved over the COVID crisis, and share our learning going forward."