Support worker and student nurse Steve Gregory has worked on Cuthbert Ward in Bamburgh Clinic for seven years.
Part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a provider of mental health and learning disability services, Bamburgh Clinic is a multi-award-winning admission facility for men who have come into contact with the criminal justice system.
Steve says he feels he is able to make a difference every day.
A lot of the men in Bamburgh Clinic have been in prison and have been in and out of forensic services for a long time. It is Steve’s job to help those patients integrate into the community.
“A typical day involves taking part in activities and encouraging others,” Steve explains. “This could be something as simple as having a game of football or pool and cooking a meal.”
Steve also provides support to patients and gives them motivation, something which is vital especially to those who have been there for a long time.
While it can be a challenging environment, Steve says the job satisfaction of being able to help others makes it all worthwhile.
“Seeing people get better is the best part of the job,” he said. “There’s no better feeling than seeing someone who used to be a patient in the shops going about their new daily routine.”
There are countless times where Steve feels he has been able to make a difference but sometimes it’s the smaller things that can make the biggest impact. For example, something that stands out for Steve is showing a patient who had been in prison for a number of years how to use a smartphone to keep in touch with his family.
Alongside his role as a support worker, Steve is also training to become a registered nurse. This involves splitting his time between course work and placements.
“It can be difficult working and doing a degree,” Steve admits. “You need to be disciplined and set yourself clear deadlines.”
For Steve, there are parts of the job that can be frustrating. “The hardest thing is when you’re trying to move someone on but there’s nowhere for them to go because of a lack of facilities,” he explained.
“It’s difficult when the lads are ready to go but they can’t. They become bored when there’s a lack of progress.”
Despite some frustrations, Steve says he would encourage anyone to have a career in nursing.
He said: “If someone is interested in nursing I would tell them to go for it. I think to be a good nurse you need to have empathy and you have to want to help people.
“There’s so much choice in mental health nursing and so many different areas you can go into – that’s what I love about the job.”