Gemma is a third year student nurse studying mental health nursing. Nursing jobs that interest her include working with young people in a CAMHS team, or within the field of substance misuse. Gemma is studying mental health nursing at Swansea University. Interview by Matt Farrah. About Matt Farrah - follow me on Google+

You’re now in year three of your nursing degree course. Looking back, how did you find your first year as a student nurse?

The first year of nursing was tough at times as it was the Common Foundation Program and was quite focused on physical health problems and general nursing, there was very little teaching about mental health at all.

You want to work with young people. Why especially does that appeal to you? And can you explain CAMHS?

I'm not really sure why I want to work with young people. Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to have a CAMHS placement yet so I'm still not sure if its what I want to do full time. CAMHS is Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and helps children and young people with mental health problems in a variety of settings such as schools, special classes or in an in-patient setting.

Did you always want to work in a mental health job when you started out and were considering nursing as a job?

Yes I've known I've wanted to do mental health ever since I considered having a nursing career. Both my parents work in mental health and I have always been fascinated with mental illness. I'm a people person and I want to make a difference, so I thought nursing would be a good career for me.

Before we conducted this interview you also mentioned that substance misuse could be an area of mental health that interests you. Why is that and have you had a chance to experience any mental health jobs during your course?

My interest in Substance Misuse sprang from my last clinical placement with the Community Drugs and Alcohol team - 8 weeks there and I just fell in love with the sort of work they do.

What tips or advice would you give to someone before they take a degree in nursing?

Tips for anyone starting a nursing degree... I would recommend that people think about whether nursing is something they really want to do. I say this as it is far from easy, although it can be so so rewarding. Also be prepared to study hard! A nursing degree is nothing like a 'normal' university degree. We have long hours of lectures and clinical placements for over half of the year - oh and long terms! No 3 month holidays!

You want to find a nursing job in Wales. Do you expect to find a mental health nursing job in Wales with reasonable ease? What’s your view of the nursing jobs market?

I have started job hunting already and I am finding it very difficult to find any nursing jobs to apply for at the moment. Its actually really stressful - everyone on the course is saying the same thing! I'm hopeful that I can get a nurse job in South Wales but I'm not sure whether its going to be a job I enjoy as I am getting quite desperate now!

Would you recommend nursing to others, and why?

Yes I would recommend a career in nursing to anyone who wants a challenging and rewarding career where every day is different!

Thanks to Gemma, and also to Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences

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