I always thought I wanted to be a musician when I was young. My Dad was a musician, and my Mum was a nurse. Mum's job seemed much harder than my Dad's fun job. It was absolutely the opposite of my ‘plan’ to be a nurse. When I was a teenager my Nan had a stroke and came to live with us as she needed round the clock care. My Mum provided the care and I helped. I learned so much from watching my Mum and was inspired by her care and skill. I also got involved in the general nursing care my Nan needed and worked in a nursing home for a couple of years which I loved. It was a long time ago and I even invited my two favourite (yes I know you cannot have favourites) residents to my 21st birthday party and they loved it.

I started my mental health nursing journey in September 1995 at Middlesex University. I liked being with people and knowing I could make a small difference to someone’s life. While I was training I did a placement in an eating disorder clinic, and this was my first experience of severe anorexia. After I qualified I worked on an acute adult mental health ward for two years, which was an incredible experience.  I was then approached to go back to the eating disorders clinic where I had been a student. I worked there for several years and for my last three years there I was the registered manager. I didn’t enjoy that so much as I missed the nursing care.

In 2009 I was approached to apply for the job in this CAMHS (Child Adolescent Mental Health Service) Eating Disorder Team and was one of the two founder members of the team. I am honoured to still be working with the other founder member who is now our team manager. Since this time, we have seen so many young people recover, and go on to live fulfilling lives.

During my time in the team, I have loved community work and to know we make a difference and see so many people get better is incredible. I have also been amazed at the increase in referrals and how the team has needed to keep on growing. This is something I find particularly difficult as I didn’t imagine we would ever be a team who had a waiting list.

Our role is so special because we have the flexibility to work in creative ways with young people and we are very skilled at holding hope when people may have lost hope. We know eating disorders are very serious illnesses and it’s a horrible illness for any child to go through. There is no better feeling than watching someone recover – I will never get bored of that. Also, we have a multi award winning team and they are all inspiring professionals in our team. The collective team attitude is a positive one in general, and we all support each other. We also have a brilliant manager, Penny, who makes sure the team members are all considered and well thought of. We have regular training and opportunities to learn from each other.