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Karen's Story - written for the 'Critical Mental Health Nurses Network'

What led you to decide to be a mental health nurse? What attracted you to the role? Where did you train and when?

I spent most of my childhood wanting to be an actress, but at 19 decided this wasn’t to be my path. After three years of different jobs I saw an advert for psychiatric nursing students, thought that it sounded different, applied and got accepted.

I started training in Coney Hill Hospital on April 30th 1984. It was certificate training and I was paid a wage right from the start. We had six weeks of induction in the nursing school and then went straight onto acute wards for 16 weeks. We weren’t supernumerary and were expected to work like everyone else. I loved it straight away, yes there was lots to change, but I felt at home and madness didn’t scare me.

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Posted: 23/06/2015 11:38:17 by Jim Campbell
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"Working to Recovery" Summer Recovery Camp 2015

About a year ago, my partner Ron Coleman said to me lets have a recovery camp, I said what’s one of those and he said I am not sure but lets invent it.

We talked for many hours, we looked at our recovery houses and took aspects of our learning from these.  It should be in a beautiful environment, the day time should have a structure that allowed for time together as a big group, with smaller workshop spaces, we wanted a relaxed but busy atmosphere, which built energy and sense of purpose.  We wanted it to have the same feel as our past conferences - a safe place, cutting edge themes, a place where dialogue happens between workers, family members and people with lived experience, but without the formality of a conference.  We wanted it to have an international feel, a coming together of different perspectives and a place where people could be creative.
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Posted: 17/06/2015 11:10:07 by Jim Campbell
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