Staff Nurse, Walkergate Park Hospital

Staff nurse Lucy Brewes has worked in many nursing guises over her 20-year NHS career.

Having started as a trainee nurse at the Freeman Hospital, Lucy has recently joined the team at Walkergate Park, part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a provider of mental health and learning disability services.

Lucy’s career began as a healthcare assistant in a renal ward, doing her training through Northumbria University and falling in love with the profession. After 10 years at the ward it was time for a change and Lucy moved to a paediatric intensive care unit, something she says was a huge challenge but extremely rewarding.

“Being in very different environments – renal ward, intensive care, community – meant I was able to learn so much,” she said.

After some time off Lucy saw a job advertised at Walkergate Park Centre for Neurorehabilitation and Neuropsychiatry and jumped at the chance. “I was given a walk round the site and immediately knew I wanted to work here!” she said.

Lucy is trained as a general nurse and working for a mental health trust is something new to her. The ward she works in covers all aspects of nursing and she is enjoying learning from the staff around her.

It’s the staff she works with that make Lucy’s job so worthwhile: “The care the staff give patients here is second to none and they really do give everything to their role.”

Another aspect of the Trust Lucy enjoys is the training opportunities, saying she has been really impressed by how much is on offer.

She added: “Every decision we make is made with the Mental Health Act in mind. As I’m new to mental health I’m keen to learn as much as possible.”

Lucy lives just a short walk from Walkergate Park and says she loves the North East and North Cumbria. “I have a huge family here and everywhere just feels like home. If I could describe the region in one word it would be welcoming.”

Not only does the region have beautiful countryside and coastline, it also boasts some of the country’s most advanced specialist hospitals. Walkergate Park is one of the most advanced centres of its kind in Europe, providing high quality rehabilitation services to people with a disability caused by injury or disease affecting the brain, spinal cord or muscles.

For those interested in a career in nursing, Lucy says the best thing is to volunteer and get as much experience as possible in a healthcare environment.

“My advice to make the most out of a nursing career is to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way, whether that is a secondment to another ward or doing more training to develop your skills.

“There are not many jobs where you get so many opportunities so don’t let them pass you by.

“My final piece of advice would be to share your knowledge. I love looking after students doing placements on the wards; you can learn just as much from them as they can from you.”