Mental Health: Supporting NHS Workforce Resilience
- 08:30 - 17:05
- Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
For over a decade Kirsty has worked within the care profession, initially supporting older individuals in a specialist dementia home which led to undertaking a BSc in Adult Nursing. After qualifying with First Class Honours, Kirsty spent the first five years of her nursing career in a busy Emergency Department. After commencing a Masters in Advanced Clinical Practice, whilst continuing her role as a senior nurse, Kirsty found herself overwhelmed with the workload and continually increasing pressures.
Although this period of time was extremely difficult, Kirsty's personal experience of mental health issues and the subsequent fight to feel well - has influenced her career path. The lack of mental health services available for NHS staff is an issue Kirsty challenged locally, with positive improvements made within that specific Trust. Kirsty has also tried to highlight the issue nationally through public speaking and writing a personal blog.
Kirsty's first encounter with the Escape Arts Charity was to attend one of their creative workshops. Through creative exploration and specifically poetry, Kirsty found a powerful vehicle of expression. This experience not only aided Kirsty's recovery but inspired the creation of the own non-profit organisation Sitting Rooms of Culture CIC.
Kirsty took on a new role as Clinical Sister in April 2020, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic. Alongside this Sitting Rooms of Culture was founded as an online group, aimed at keeping the community connected and uplifted during the impending lockdown. This forum quickly expanded within 18 months to over 5,000 members and registered as a Community Interest Company. Whilst producing online workshops, events and creative community projects SRoC championed local grassroots creatives, providing a platform to showcase their work. July 2021 Kirsty led the move from online to a physical community hub within Coventry Market, building a team of volunteers to support the running of the space.
Networking and collaborating with other local organisations has been essential to the success of Sitting Rooms of Culture, leading to interesting projects and opportunities. Kirsty worked with Escape Arts to develop the ONE project which included a creative resource delivered to healthcare workers, hospital inpatients and those shielding in the community. Kirsty also produced a six week creative journaling course for Healthcare Workers across multiple Trusts.
Kirsty's time is now shared between Sitting Rooms of Culture and her Creative Health Co-ordinator role with Escape Arts. Although no longer a Clinical Sister, Kirsty is still maintains her nursing registration working the occasional shift at local hospitals.