11 March 2020
Forty years ago, Sandra Bailey decided to follow her mother into nursing, but unlike her, Sandra knew her passion was in mental health nursing.
“I wanted to spend time talking to people,” she said.
She qualified as a staff nurse and worked her way up to senior management level at another trust.
Her career has ranged across the whole age range and settings, from children and young people, to working age adults to older people and across acute nursing, rehab nursing and CAMHS, which she has worked in since 2001.
Officially she retired in 2017 but realised she missed the bustle of NHS nursing too much and decided she needed to return, finding her way to CNWL.
Sandra now works in Brent CAMHS part-time as a Clinical Nurse Specialist with a speciality in caring for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with a caseload of about 50 children and young people with ages ranging from six to 18.
She’s also an Independent Nurse Prescriber, meaning she can prescribe medications for someone diagnosed with ADHD –though for Sandra medication is the last resort.
“One thing I like about being in CAMHS nursing is it’s very different to anything else I’ve done. You have to be an exemplary nurse here.
“When I’m in a room with a family I need to understand what they are bringing into that room and I need to be able to address the issues there and then,” she said.
“I need to be confident and have good interpersonal skills, particularly communication skills, which allows me to engage with families.
“Once they engage with me everything else falls into place as it’s me showing people I understand what they are going through. If people walk away with something to hold on to then I’ve done a good job and made the difference I want to make.”
Sandra enjoys her work, particularly when she’s managed to help a young person find ways of coping with their ADHD and a helped a family to live a “normal” life while living with a child who has ADHD.
“I feel amazing when I have a success and know I’ve helped someone. Families will make me feel I’m a part of something good in their family when things are going well and that’s how I know they appreciate the work I’m doing.
“Seeing a young person able to go on and achieve in school is quite something and is an amazing feeling – I want children and young people to be empowered and to get back on track.
“One young person I’ve been working with unexpectedly gave me a hug when she was leaving the clinic one day. That spoke volumes for me. For her to do that, it made me reflect that I must have done something that she appreciated. She’s turned her life around and now wants to do her GCSEs and is really positive”, she said.