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Graeme's story - Modern Matron

Graeme – Modern Matron, Mental Health Services

My mother had a conversation with me around 22 years ago about looking into a career in nursing and said I should consider being a psychiatric nurse. I hadn’t really thought about it but decided to go back to college to do an Access to Higher education course.

I visited St James Hospital, with my mother who knew the services from living in Portsmouth and had spent some time with the Occupational Therapist team. I was really keen to go onto the psychiatric intensive care ward, but was told it was too risky, which got me interested in why. They did let me on to the ward for a very short period and I was hooked!

I decided there and then that was where I wanted to work and applied to the university. To my surprise got accepted with no previous experience of nursing or mental health, but was told, I was just the right type of person.

On qualifying I started my first job on the intensive care ward which had inspired me. I was, and still am very lucky and seemed to progress quickly to a more senior grade nurse. I then went for many opportunities offered and broadened my experience across most of the mental health services, both inpatient and community.

I now work in a role where I am able to oversee and support quality care and develop others who are interested in beginning their training as well as being a clinical leader, but never forgot what inspired me in the first place.