Assistant Practitioner, Mitford Unit, Northgate Hospital

Nursing assistant Danielle Wright says the opportunity for career progression was the main reason she was drawn to applying for a job at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a provider of mental health and learning disability services.

Having previously worked in a care home as a carer, Danielle has been working at CNTW for nearly six years.

Danielle studied health and social care at college and went straight into working in a care home for people with a physical disability, where she worked for six years.

While she enjoyed her job there, Danielle found that progress was particularly slow. “There isn’t much development in care homes and often people who work there have been there for years so it’s very hard to move up the career ladder”, Danielle says.

She decided moving to CNTW would be the best decision to allow her to progress further.

Since joining the Trust, Danielle has had a number of opportunities to develop, including completing a Band 4 Assistant Practitioner course with Teesside University.

As the role of practitioner has recently changed to a nursing associate, Danielle is due to undertake a top-up course to ensure her training is up to date. Once fully qualified she will be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) which allows her to work in all healthcare sectors, not just mental health.

Danielle added: “You are really pushed to progress and do well at CNTW. If you want to do extra training or qualifications to further your career, the options are there.

“I’ve learnt more in this job than I could have ever imagined.” 

Danielle also says CNTW gives you mandatory training that you wouldn’t normally get in the private sector. The autism services, where Danielle works, has its own bespoke induction giving staff the opportunity to learn about autism, medication, the Mental Health Act and therapies such as speech and language, something she found extremely helpful.

Danielle works on the Mitford Unit at Northgate Hospital in Morpeth, a place where she says no two days are the same. “My job focuses on supporting people with autism to promote their daily living skills,” she says.

Life on an autism inpatient unit is not without its challenges. Danielle says the hardest part of her job is the unpredictable behaviour, especially as each individual patient has very different needs.

“Parts of the job can be really hard”, Danielle admits. “But the positives far outweigh the negatives and there’s never a day that I don’t want to come into work.”

When those days are difficult, Danielle gets through with the support of her team. She said: “We’re all in it together and if ever someone on the team is feeling down we pick each other up.”

Seeing the progress that people make is another reason Danielle loves coming in to work, saying it’s wonderful to build meaningful relationships with people and see how they change over time.

For Danielle, working at Mitford has numerous benefits from being able to work in areas you feel more comfortable with or are more suited to, to the flexibility of shifts and great maternity leave.

Mitford provides a service to adults who are on the autism spectrum. The unit has been purpose built and designed for people who need highly specialised care. Mitford has a strong focus on working with families and carers to get people back home as soon as possible.

There are opportunities for nurses throughout the Trust. To find out more follow @cntw_jobs or visit www.cntw.nhs.uk/nurserecruitment