The role of a physical health nurse in a mental health setting cannot be over emphasised due to the inter-connectivity between mental health and physical health.

People with mental illness die on average 15-20 years earlier than other people. This mortality gap can be accounted for by the preventable physical health problems, unhealthy lifestyles and barriers to effective help seeking or accessing physical health care as a result of discrimination, stigma or diagnostic overshadowing.

As a physical health nurse, I work collaboratively with the MDT (multi-disciplinary team), providing physical health advice, supporting the delivery of safe, effective and evidenced based care in meeting the physical health need of the service users. I liaise and work closely with multi-agency, creating relationship with both internal and external staff, nurse specialists for effective referral to deliver great physical health care to our service users to achieve great outcomes.

In addition, I work alongside excellent and focused frontline staff providing appropriate teaching, embedding physical health care hence building their confidence regarding physical health care, transforming and creating a generational shift in the care of service users.

Physical Health Nursing role is at the heart of nursing, especially during the pandemic period. Right from the onset of the pandemic, I supported staff to ensure service users are effectively monitored and managed to prevent physical health complications and death.

Also, I play an integral and critical role in supporting and teaching NEWS2, Soft Measure, Glasgow Coma Scale and Frailty to ensure that staff at all levels in the Trust are able to promptly recognise and respond to deterioration in service users for quick escalation, treatment or transfer to an acute Trust to reduce likelihood of mortality or complications due to delayed care for which many service users have benefited.

In addition to that, I always strive to improve standard of care and create a sense of physical health awareness among my mental health colleagues to proactively provide care to service users in a holistic manner to avoid diagnostic overshadowing. I conducted a CQI project on pain among older people with dementia. This project has generated positive feedback and creating elements of positive change and outcome in our service users and staff. To ensure patient safety, learning and evidence-based practice, I am involved in some policies review and updates, the reviewing of serious incidents and provide teaching as required.

My role is unique, special and very dynamic because I work with dedicated multi professionals in different units in the Trust to provide care to service users with different mental health and physical health diagnosis. It entails developing good interpersonal relationship, motivational and influencing skills to be able to adequately manage a change and ensure it is being sustained.

HPFT is a great place to work. They are sensitive in identifying capable hands that would add value to the organisation. They provide encouragement and support needed for staff in using their skills to deliver great care. More so, they encourage professional development and prepare you for career advancement. These and many more are irresistible benefits of working with HPFT.