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New Year, new career with St Andrew’s Healthcare – St Andrew’s Healthcare Recruitment Day – Friday 20th January 2023

A graduate with a first class degree in psychology has changed her career pathway to train as a mental health nurse after work experience inspired her to “make a real difference” to women’s lives.

Abby Weston started at mental health charity St Andrew’s Healthcare in 2019 as part of her psychology degree.

It was during her time there working on a women’s low and medium secure ward that she decided a career path change might be on the cards.

Prior to her work placement, the 22-year-old did not know anything about mental health nursing but found the work and helping the patients fulfilling.

She said: “During my placement at St Andrew’s, I discovered really meaningful work. I was getting up and going somewhere everyday where I could make a real difference. I was very grateful because I was given the opportunity to learn a great deal about the role nurses play within the world of mental health and the integral role they have when it comes to helping the patients.

“That’s why I decided to follow a new direction into nursing, instead of psychology. Now, my focus is working with people from admission, right through to discharge, which will allow me to be really hands on while working on the ward.”

With 2023 having just started, many people may be looking for a change in career direction due to the promise of a New Year sometimes indicating fresh challenges.

To help those who may have been considering moving into the mental health sector, St Andrew’s Healthcare is holding a recruitment day on Friday, January 20 between 11am and 130pm at the hospital’s Billing Road site.

Staff will be on hand to meet attendees who will also be able to tour the mental health charity site and find out about the wide range of careers and job opportunities available there which include nursing, healthcare assistants, psychology roles, social work or occupational therapy.

Additionally, there are also jobs available in catering, logistics, administration, and as peer support workers.

David Anthony, Head of Recruitment at St Andrew’s said: “St Andrew’s Healthcare is a unique place to work as it invests in continuous learning and professional development for its staff. We offer leadership and management development, and clinical and professional development.

“Not only that, but every year we fund 20 nursing degrees, which enables healthcare assistants to train as registered nurses, while also earning. The charity is very focused on employee wellbeing and offers free sports facilities and gym classes, as well as a cycle-to-work scheme. Staff also benefit from free parking.

Since Abby joined St Andrew’s she has not looked back, as now she has joined its innovative Aspire programme which enables HCAs to pursue nursing.

The initiative helps participants to combine their learning and experience by jumping straight into the second year of the University of Northampton’s Mental Health Nursing degree. This means they can then complete their nursing degree in two years, instead of three.

Abby said: “St Andrew’s encouraged me to join the Aspire programme soon after I joined as they said they could see true potential in me. Having already done a degree, one of the benefits of this programme is the financial help I get, but also it’s about being part of a community. The support I’ve had has been amazing.

“I’ve been able to connect with people who have already done the course who can offer advice as well as people in my cohort. It feels like I’m not alone and people are really rooting for me to succeed.”

Abby finishes the programme next summer and plans to stay on at St Andrew’s working with women who have experienced trauma.

The recruitment event takes place at St Andrew’s Healthcare, Main Building, Billing Road, Northampton, NN1 5DG.

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