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'If student nurse bursaries stop, the face of nursing in the UK will change massively'

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We talk to Georgie Relph, a community mental health nurse and care co-ordinator in an early intervention in psychosis team.

georgie relph

georgie relph

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I have always enjoyed supporting and helping people and wanted a job that would be diverse and interesting.

Where did you train?

King’s College London

What was your first job in nursing?

Before qualifying, a nursing assistant on an acute mental health ward. My first job after becoming qualified was as a drug and alcohol nurse practitioner in a London-based community addictions team.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

Having the will power of a flip flop when it comes to resisting chocolate.

From whom have you learnt the most in your nursing career and why?

I’ve learnt a lot from the nurses and other professionals I’ve worked with during my career in mental health. Those who went out of their way to support a patient or colleague taught me the importance of looking after and supporting those under my care and in my team.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?

It’s hard work, and can be tough, but it can also be rewarding. Don’t forget what it’s like for patients and carers, and how worrying it can be to be referred to your service.

What keeps you awake at night?

Feeling that there’s not enough hours in the day to achieve everything I’d set out to do, and thinking of my patients who might be struggling.  

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

It is satisfying when something goes well despite lots of obstacles, and when someone shows their appreciation and says ‘Thank you’.     

I’ve learnt a lot from the nurses and other professionals I’ve worked with during my career in mental health

What’s your proudest achievement?

Getting my nursing pin. The second is when I was given the chance to go to Tanzania to deliver training on the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.

What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?

If student nurse bursaries stop, the face of nursing in the UK will change massively. I could not have afforded to train without this money. We will become more reliant on the support of nurses who have trained abroad.   

Which job would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?

I’d like to think I would have done something creative, like an artist or a designer.

What job would you like to be doing in five years?

Still working in nursing, but developing my skills and knowledge in a specific area, such as family therapy.

If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?

To continue to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

Spending time with my family and friends. Lots of sunshine.

If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?

Stephen Fry – an amazing and interesting person, and a great advocate of individuals who have experienced mental health difficulties.


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