From Nursing Cadet Scheme To Mental Health Nurse

Luke Hazell
Luke Hazell

Luke Hazell

Hello! My name is Luke and I am a recently qualified Mental Health Nurse working within a medium secure facility at Glanrhydd Hospital in Swansea Bay Health Board.

Before I began my studies at Cardiff University I was a member of the Army Cadet force where in 2019 I was given the opportunity to enrol on the Royal College of Nursing's Nursing Cadet Scheme. This was a pilot scheme with its aim to teach young people about the role of the nurse and the NHS as a whole. The scheme gave cadets the opportunity to learn about the NHS and its varied roles through group work, a written workbook and talks from different people within the NHS.

The scheme also allowed us to visit our local health boards to undertake a light form of clinical placements. From my experiences of this I was able to spend a morning with pharmacy at Morriston hospital where I saw the process of dispensing a prescription using an automated machine. I was also able to see other departments of the hospital such as decontamination and sterile services, learn about dialysis treatment and spend a day with the Welsh Air Ambulance Service. All these experiences helped me in my way to becoming the nurse I am today. 

I chose the role of a mental health nurse through completing the nursing cadet scheme and learning about the various aspects of mental health support within the NHS. Through my degree I was also able to work in a variety of settings from adolescent mental health, early intervention work to forensic assessments which is where I am now working. To start the nursing cadet programme I only needed to be a member of the cadet force and show the enthusiasm to learn more than what I thought. For my degree I was required to have a C or above in both Math and English GCSE and 3 A levels with the grade B or above. 

The role of a mental health nurse is challenging but also rewarding across all aspects of the job. Through the cadet scheme and my degree I have been able to see where my role can take me in the future and how I can continually learn about new therapeutic interventions, social support systems and specializations through research and training which are ever expanding in the field. My job now requires me to work 1:1 with forensic patients during their admission to the clinic where we support them in settling in, organising their prescriptions and supporting their right to autonomy in their care. In the future I hope to progress into other fields of mental health such as early intervention psychosis within a community setting and eventually work as a lecturer for a university such as Cardiff while doing part time work on wards.