This morning began in class with a group of 25 or so (very) new students of mental health nursing. The session revolved around a series of open-ended questions, in family therapy style, put to John Hyde and to me by Nicola Evans. Nic invited us to share something of our personal experiences in mental health nursing: as students, practitioners, educators and researchers. In a decidedly non-random way, one of Nic’s questions invoked the idea of ‘critical junctures’, echoing our paper in this area but referring, in this context, to pivotal moments within our individual careers thus far.
From a learning point of view the premise was to introduce new students to the rich and varied world of mental health nursing, via a listening in to a reflective conversation conducted on the same. I found it an interesting experience, and hope the students did too. In my early morning mental preparation before participating it became necessary to conjure up people, places and events dating back to at least the late 1980s. So today I remembered my first student placement working (in East London) with a community mental health nurse, my first job as a qualified practitioner, and my eventual move to Cardiff. Fascinating