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That nice feeling of being supported

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Want to see happiness in human form? Meet Kym, a registered mental health nurse at Cygnet Health Care in Bury who loves her job, her team and seeing her patients’ wellbeing improve

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‘‘I love coming to work,” says 34-year-old Kym Chilley. “I’m happy in my home life and work life. For me, my job’s a huge part of that, because if I wasn’t happy in my work, I wouldn’t be happy in the rest of it,” she smiles.  

Kym’s been part of the team at Cygnet Health Care in Bury since last September – it’s her first job after qualifying as an RMN. Having trained at Salford University, Kym completed her final placement at Upper West Ward, the female medium-secure unit at Bury – and taking a role there after qualifying was a natural next step. 

“I just fitted in straight way. In three years of training, you move from placement to placement and sometimes it takes a while to settle in – but here, I instantly felt like part of the team,” she explains. “Everyone was so welcoming and there’s that nice feeling of being supported.”

Her day to day is spent tending to the needs of a diverse range of women with various diagnoses including unstable personality disorder, psychosis, schizophrenia and eating disorders. 

“It’s a fast-paced ward and a lot of hard work. The patient group have a lot of distressing times, but it’s really satisfying when I can prevent the distress from escalating. That’s one of the best feelings,” smiles Kym.

As part of her development, Kym was given the chance to be the named nurse for a new patient arriving on the ward. As well as being a valuable opportunity to grow her skills, it was also a hugely rewarding experience. 

“It was really good for me, going through the whole admissions process and how we set up a patient’s care,” she recounts. “When the patient arrived, she was very closed off and couldn’t control her urges to harm herself. She couldn’t reach out for help. But now, whenever I see her, she’s quite sassy and we have a laugh. 

“Just yesterday, she came to me, told me how she was feeling and asked for medication to help prevent her self-harming. And the next thing, I saw her in the communal area calmly flicking through a book. I was blown away. It’s just so nice seeing how well she’s done.” 

As well as the satisfaction of supporting others, Kym loves working at Cygnet because of the support and development she receives. “Being mentored during my placement was such a positive experience. It’s a huge part of the reason why I chose Cygnet,” she says.  

And having the same colleague support her during her preceptorship was also a great help to Kym, who, as a former driving instructor, sees a parallel between this and her previous career. “Your preceptorship is like ripping off your red L plates and driving around with those ‘just-passed-my-test’ green L plates,” she smiles. 

“It’s a bit of a jump from being a student nurse. It’s a shock to the system – the responsibility of running a ward and being in charge of medication, patients and their safety. But I had a supportive preceptor nurse and a comprehensive booklet that I worked through.

“I also went on training days. One was to a Cygnet hospital in Derby where the patients showed us the educational activities they do to support recovery. Opportunities like these are really valuable for getting tasters of what others do and ideas for what we can do too.”

Having previously been her own boss, learning to delegate and manage her time have been challenges for Kym, as she explains: “You’ve got to be able to spread tasks and share workloads across the team. I struggled with that, but with the help of Kelly – she was my placement mentor, my preceptor nurse and now she’s my team leader – I’ve got much better with it.”

And the best thing about working at Cygnet? “I love my team. Everybody is there to support each other so we can do the best job we can. I’ve had nothing but support at Cygnet. If I ask for help with anything, I get it. 

“At the end of the day, it makes me feel content. I’m content that I’ve done my best to make sure everyone’s getting cared for – and doing my best is good enough.”

Find more information about careers at Cygnet Health Care at

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