Posted on: 10 May 2024

Hillingdon CAMHS are celebrating after successfully reducing referral wait times and assessment processes, plus managing crisis and emergency cases.

The team of nurses have increased families access to service within 24 hours of referral and children and young people being assessed within 12 weeks.

Patricia, Nurse Specialist works in the duty triage team screening patients.

She said: “When we call parents are so happy as they weren’t expecting a call so quickly. It’s quite reassuring to them that we have contacted within 24 hours by making the first call.

When we speak to the parents or family, we also make time to speak to the young people too. Often young people will share some things that they might have even disclosed to their parents.

The parents are grateful for us to speak with their child as it opens up some sort of window.”

Patricia began working in the team last year, despite never seeing herself working within a children and young person’s service.

She said: “I am enjoying it so much. I work within a team that is very supportive, we are close, you can share, discuss issues and you know that you’ll be offered support. We are given that reassurance, I look forward to coming to work every day.”

Enoch, Team Manager at Hillingdon CAMHS reflects on Patricia’s career development.

He said: “Patricia and the team have got on with the job, they came in with low experience and we put structures in place to support them to develop their knowledge and build their confidence. Over the past 13 months they’ve grown tremendously in the role.

They are able to make effective clinical decisions that affect children and young people without getting a complaint from families. They are doing a fantastic job!”

Both Patricia and Enoch joined the nursing profession in different ways.

Patricia shares a sweet memory of her mother describing her ‘caring attitude and nature’ a good attribute.

“When growing up, my mother told me I could be a nurse. As an adult, a friend of mine said ‘you know you could be a very good nurse, your work habits, caring nature, you would be fantastic.’ She actually pushed me into it, but I knew back in my mind, that my mum had told me this before.”

Contrarily, Enoch became a nurse by chance.

He said: “Initially I thought it was a female-dominated profession. However, when I was working in medicine I realised there are certain skills I have that aligns with the nursing profession.

Though the role can come with some challenges, the support you receive from colleagues and management makes you feel valued.”

The team attend regular weekly reflective sessions, see picture below of latest face-to-face session.

Hillingdon CAMHS triage team come together for weekly reflective session

Patricia says: “We ask each other how we’re feeling, how the week has been, if there is anything not going well and how to be supported. Where I worked previously I never had this kind of opportunity. That reflection period is quite important to me, I’m always looking forward to the week when we have the session.”

For those considering a career in nursing, Enoch says:

“Nursing is always evolving. I would encourage people to consider a nursing profession, as your views and opinions will be accepted like every other profession. Be proud!”

Patricia adds: “There are so many areas within nursing to explore, and you can develop yourself in so many ways. There are lots of training opportunities, I recently I completed ASD (Autism) training and it has really helped me recognise presenting symptoms of ASD in young people and I’m able to signpost or advice parents where they can receive support.”