Ward Manager, Embleton, St George’s Park Hospital, Northumberland

Ward manager Craig Irving moved back into an inpatient ward after three years working in the community.

As ward manager on Embleton at St George’s Park, Craig is responsible for ensuring the ward runs safely and smoothly.

Part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), Embleton is for men who are experiencing a relapse or crisis in their mental health.

“Every day on the ward is different,” Craig said.  “I need to make sure I’m available to staff if they have any questions and that I keep up to date with any changes in policies.”

Having started in February, Craig previously worked as a CPN in a community treatment team. Before that he worked at Bamburgh Clinic, an award-winning acute facility for men who have a mental health disorder and have come into contact with the Criminal Justice System.

While working in the community, Craig used his background in forensic nursing to set up a service assessing patients coming out of prison to see if they would benefit from therapy.

“I moved to a job in community because I was attracted to the 9-5,” he explained. “It was really enjoyable and I learned a lot but realised that I wanted to be back on the wards.

“What I love about being a ward manager on an inpatient ward is that I have that mix of understanding the operational side while still be able to see patients.”

Always looking for new challenges, Craig believes when you start to feel comfortable in a job that’s when it’s time to move on.

While the job is extremely rewarding, it can be a challenge. For Craig, the hardest part is working in a constantly changing environment but he finds an inpatient ward is the best place for nurses to cut their teeth. “It gives nurses the opportunity to learn skills in a secure environment.

“Inpatients is a great place to learn the clinical aspects of nursing. There is constant support from managers and clinical leads. For me, I found working in the community quite isolating, you’re often making decisions by yourself, but there’s always someone for support on an inpatient ward.”