Corinne Fallows

Ward Sister, Medium secure forensic mental health care, St George’s Hospital, Stafford

Hello my name is Corinne. I’m a mental health nurse and I work in a medium secure forensic mental health service for men. I work on the acute admission and assessment ward as a ward sister/charge nurse but I’m about to start a new role as clinical lead nurse supporting the acute admission and assessment ward and the forensic ‘psychiatric intensive care’ unit (PICU). Before this I worked in the same trust on a low secure unit for men with learning disabilities, ASD and mental health difficulties. Before I became a nurse, I used to work in the welfare rights or 3rd sector where I managed a centre that supported students who wanted to go into higher education but had barriers to this such as having been in care, having disabilities, being parents or single parents etc. I did this for 12 years and it taught me a lot about people, working in teams and about social inequalities and social injustice.

I think that I’m so very passionate about forensic mental health nursing because the people we care for are often those that society would prefer to forget about due to the nature of their diagnoses and their offending histories. However, these people have often faced abuse, neglect, poverty, homelessness and a range of other social inequalities. I think that on top of treating mental illness with medication, talking therapies and levels of security, one of our biggest roles is to try to rekindle a sense of hope and belief that a good life can be possible however the individual might imagine that given their circumstances.

I want to support the team I work with so that they feel empowered to provide the best care possible and I feel really strongly that if we can communicate openly and show care and consideration to each other, then this is a good starting point to build the ward culture we want to have. In forensic mental health settings there can at times be barriers to feeling and showing compassion for ourselves, our colleagues and our patients. This is something that I really want to explore with my team and I recognise that I need to build the skills and leadership style to enable me to do this effectively.

I have colleagues in non-forensic settings who have completed this programme and they have strongly encouraged me to apply and shown me the benefits to their own teams. I’m really excited to try this out in our forensic setting and find out how a more creative approach might benefit us all.

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