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Nurse Profile: Katharine Wells

As the first person in the world to complete the Edward Jenna programme, Katharine talks to Nursing in Practice about how it has improved her confidence through its application to the 'real world' of nursing

Jenny Chou: What does your role as a mental health nurse involve?

Katherine Wells: My role as a mental health nurse is to support patients and their families through a difficult period of their lives, often described as a 'crisis'. We provide education on mental health, advise on ways of coping with their mental health, refer to other services that can help with social factors (finances/ housing) and plan longer term care such as supporting and planning for patients to move back home or into supported accommodation. We may also offer medication.

JC: What inspired you to become a nurse?

KW: I finished a degree in psychology and worked for a few years, but wanted to put my degree to use. So I spent some time working in care and decided to re-train as a nurse. I chose mental health firstly to use my degree and because both my parents are medical professionals and suggested I should go down that route.

JC: What do you enjoy most about your role? What do you find most challenging?

KW: I enjoy working with and meeting different people from a range of backgrounds. It is very rewarding seeing how your input can make a difference to someone's life. The most challenging is having to re-educate people about mental illness as many people, including the families of patients can remain prejudiced.

JC: How does it feel to be the first person in the world to complete the course?

KW: Very exciting! I did not think that I would be at all, I just started it as the programme looked interesting and I hoped it would help with going for a band six role - which it has done!

JC: What are the main elements of the course?

KW: The programme consists of modules which are accessed online and which can be completed in any order. I was able to work through the modules at my own pace and I could go back and forth as I needed to. I enjoyed the interactive parts, the videos and the worksheets. There was a short quiz at the end of the modules and then a longer one after all the modules had been completed. I particularly liked that if I'd answered a question wrong, the right answer would be shown with an explanation of why this was correct. This meant I was learning even when completing the quiz, and helped put the information I had read into place.

JC: What did you learn on the leadership programme that you found particularly useful? What does it bring to your current role?

KW: It has made me feel more confident in my role and created a better understanding of how my role impacts the wider service. The programme applies to 'the real world' of nursing so I felt that all the examples were relevant to my practice. I feel that I have improved the service that I provide as I am more aware of the impact that I have and the possibilities that I have to improve services.