Community Practitioner EIP Team, Sunderland and South Tyneside

Chris WilliamsCommunity Practitioner Chris Williams works in the Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) team in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Chris qualified as a mental health nurse in September 2019 after working in a number of customer service jobs. He worked in management roles in McDonald’s, a casino and a bank, to name a few.

“Lots of my previous jobs had a customer service focus,” Chris explained. “I feel like they have given me a lot of transitional skills that I’ve taken into nursing. Nursing doesn’t feel too different, it’s still person-centred and about giving someone the best experience possible.”

When he turned 30, Chris decided he wanted a career change. “I was having some issues with my own mental health and felt a bit lost,” he said.

“I’d always thought about going back to study, so I did a healthcare course at Gateshead College before studying nursing at Northumbria University.”

It was his own struggles that led Chris to mental health nursing. “I want to help people who have gone through something similar and I think having that experience puts me in a better position to help.”
As a Community Practitioner, Chris works on a case load of around 18 service users, leading on their care and treatment.

“I work alongside a multi-disciplinary team of different professionals, trying to give people the best possible chance of recovery after experiencing psychosis,” he explains.
The aim of the team is to prevent hospital admissions, providing care for people at home where possible.

For Chris, the best part of the job is the little wins. “We work with the majority of service users for around three years, so it can be a slow process.

“I work with people on their goals and what they want to achieve, no matter how big or small. Seeing people come off their medication for the rest of their life is a massive achievement. But there are also smaller things that mean a lot to a service user, for example, one woman was really anxious about going to the playground to pick up her kids from school and she can do that now which has made a huge difference.”

Chris’s advice for those who may be thinking of working in EIP is to have a level of resilience.
He said: “You’re working with human beings and you can’t always predict what’s going to happen but I get so much satisfaction from this job. There is a wealth of opportunities for nurses in the Trust so I would say be open-minded and optimistic. It’s an extremely rewarding place to be.”