Mark Jones relocated to the North East from his home town of Wigan to join Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) as a ward manager.
Having worked in Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust for eight years, he was keen to move to progress his career.
Mark admits it was a big step and found the transition difficult at first, initially staying at his mums in Northumberland during the week and spending weekends back home.
It wasn’t long before he moved to the area permanently and hasn’t looked back since.
“Having some family living here already definitely helped but people in the North East are so friendly I think I would have settled in regardless,” Mark said.
Another thing Mark says helped him settle is the support he received from the Trust and his team, particularly his line manager Charlene Stewart.
“From the interview process before I’d even got the job, everyone was aware I was relocating from a different area,” Mark explained.
“The team were really understanding and I was able to have flexibility with my days off so I could go home for a long weekend.”
Once Mark was offered the job, he was given the chance to shadow another ward manager before he started, something he found extremely helpful. He was also able to visit the ward beforehand and introduce himself to patients and staff.
For Mark, the best part of relocating is being close to the North East’s famous coastline and countryside. “Even after my interview I had a drive around and thought I can see myself living here,” he added.
Based at St George’s Park in Morpeth, Mark is ward manager on Warkworth, an acute inpatient ward for men over the age of 18 who are experiencing a relapse or crisis in their mental health.
He says being a ward manager can be challenging. “Once you put that uniform on people expect you to know everything,” he explained.
“Working on an inpatient ward is a constantly changing environment. As ward manager, I have to ensure the ward runs as smoothly and safely as possible.”
Often described as the A&E of mental health, Mark says working on an acute ward is the bread and butter of nursing.
He said: “You get to work with patients with all kinds of different presentations from all kinds of backgrounds. If you can manage working on an acute ward, you can work anywhere.
“Inpatients is the best place to cut your teeth, it leads to many other fields and I’d recommend it to anyone.”