Helena.jpgWorking in acute mental healthcare is no picnic – but the rewards are priceless, as Helena Jodrell discovered in 2020. 

Helena was working as a dementia support worker in Buxton when lockdown restrictions suddenly meant she could no longer visit her service users.

Her employer, Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, was looking for staff members who were willing   to be redeployed to the Hartington Unit in Chesterfield. Always up for a new challenge, Helena put her name forward. 

The move was something of a culture shock. Helena was redeployed onto Tansley Ward, which cares for adults with acute mental health issues. In spring 2020, anxieties were running higher than usual because of Covid fears. 

Helena said: “I had    no idea what the Hartington Unit was like and no idea what I was walking into . I was used to dealing with one elderly patient at a time, so stepping into a ward full of acutely unwell male and female service users  felt overwhelming at first. Added to that were my concerns about being in close contact with other people at the height of the pandemic, and a nearly 60-mile round trip. It was not the easiest start.”

But it wasn’t too long before Helena started to change her mind about her new role.

“I soon found that, actually, this ward introduced me to a whole different side of mental health that 
I’d never experienced before. It showed me that there are people you can really help, and there’s a ward that people can go to where they can get help.”

Helena found herself keen to learn about different mental health conditions so she could find new ways to help people. She found herself using her days off to carry out further training and study to increase her knowledge and boost her skills. 

She also loved working with her new colleagues. 

She said: “The staff were amazing and just worked as a team. And, as a team, you can actually make someone’s life so different. I was introduced to this whole world of mental health which I actually thought was amazing. 

“Working on Tansley Ward made me a better person. It made me a better nurse; it gave me passion and it made me want to do the job more. It was amazing. And four years later, I’m still here.”

Helena is now preparing to move to the new Derwent Unit in Chesterfield, a brand-new facility which is being built as part of Derbyshire Healthcare’s Making Room for Dignity programme. 

The programme will give every inpatient their own single en-suite bedroom, providing them with privacy and control over their environment to help them on the road to recovery. They’ll be able to adjust the heating and lighting, and play their own music by linking their mobile phones to the television. 

Helena said: “The new facilities will be an incredible boost to people’s journey towards feeling better as they will have a room to call their own where they can escape the hustle and bustle of the wards. It will be a great place to work, too. Who wouldn’t want to work in brand new facilities?”

The development of the new healthcare facilities will create many new job opportunities at Derbyshire Healthcare, so the Trust is holding a jobs fair at the SMH Group Stadium in Chesterfield on Saturday 8th June from 10am to 2pm.

The event will promote roles for experienced mental health nurses, as well as those in the estates team, administration and catering. To find out more and reserve a place at the jobs fair, please visit https://bit.ly/Jobs-Fair-Ch.