Lauren Dennis - Interim Nurse Consultant (PATH)
I am the Interim Nurse Consultant in Hertfordshire’s Early Intervention in Psychosis Service, PATH.
PATH (Psychosis: Prevention, Assessment & Treatment in Hertfordshire) works with people in the first 3 years of a psychotic illness. We provide the First Episode Psychosis pathway to individuals aged 16 to 65 in Hertfordshire. We are currently setting up an ARMS (At Risk Mental State) service for individuals at risk of developing psychosis.
My role combines clinical practice with nursing leadership within HPFT. It includes four elements:
Provision of clinical expertise
Leadership and consultancy
Education, training and development
Service development, research and evaluation
As a mental health nurse, I make a difference everyday both to our staff and service users within PATH. I support with complex assessment and complex case management, provide training for staff within PATH to be able to carry out complex assessments and provide interventions, I lead the non-medical prescribing within HPFT and provide clinical leadership in the set up of the ARMS service. All these elements support the provision of high-quality care to our service users.
I believe HPFT is a great Trust to work for. HPFT put high quality support for staff at the centre of what they do. This is apparent though their health and wellbeing strategy, the employee assistance programme, numerous staff networks, and regular opportunities to catch-up with the Executive Team.
PATH is also a great service to work for. We have a unique mini team that our staff say helps them to feel supported in the work they do. There is a real drive for providing high-quality care based on the NICE guidance for psychosis and in line with this there is an extensive staff training programme provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, senior social workers, nurses as well as myself. We are about to start training through the new Simulation Hub which is great news. There is also the opportunity to undertake Family Interventions training and to get involved in the carers group PATH provides. This level of training provides a great opportunity for individuals to grow their clinical and leadership skills. There are opportunities for further career development. We have individuals undertaking nursing associate and non-medical prescribing training and many of our band 6 care coordinators have progressed to band 7 roles.
The nurse consultant role is great as it combines both clinical and leadership aspects. I have regular contact with service users and carers, the reason I became a nurse in the first place. Alongside this I drive clinical quality, supporting the team’s focus on the provision of high-quality care. It is great to be involved in the development of new services that will make a difference to people’s lives and the ARMS service is a great opportunity to prevent individuals developing psychosis. I am also the lead for non-medical prescribing within HPFT. It is great to see nurses progress to prescribing and the benefits that this brings service users. Being a role model for other nurses is also really important. There are a range of career pathways for nurses within HPFT and I really enjoy supporting nurses in their development.