As we celebrate 150 colleagues who are training to become qualified Priory nurses, Vanessa McQueen, 29, a former healthcare assistant at Priory Cheadle Royal Hospital, describes her career journey:
‘I decided to go into mental health nursing after my younger sister had a stroke at the age of 20. I wanted to learn more about the psychiatric aspect of her recovery, but I also wanted to ‘give back’ as a thank-you to the wonderful people who saved her life.
‘I think a lot of people are interested in mental health as it's a developing field; there are so many opportunities to thrive and grow. I have enjoyed the challenge of working at Priory. No day is the same; your day can go in any direction at any minute. For some people that may sound scary, but I find it exciting.
‘There are many different areas that you can work in, depending on your interests, and there is so much to learn. The Priory is extremely supportive when it comes to learning and development. They offer courses, such as the nursing apprenticeship I am about to complete, and regular training such as in basic life support, rapid intervention and treatment, and safeguarding.
‘I have had the privilege of helping patients through their most vulnerable time and they have in turn taught me a great deal about myself. I have met people who I will never forget and who will stay with me throughout my life. I feel that mental health is moving positively forward, and I am extremely proud to be a part of that. I would encourage many more people into the profession. There is no health without mental health.’
About Priory and MEDIAN
Priory is the UK’s leading independent provider of mental health services. We treat more than 70 conditions including depression, anxiety, addictions, and eating disorders, as well as children’s mental health, across our nationwide network of sites. We also support adults with complex autism, learning disabilities, Prader-Willi Syndrome and brain injuries, as well as older people, as a leading provider of specialist residential care and supported living – helping as many people as possible to live their lives.
Priory is part of MEDIAN, one of Europe’s leading providers of high-quality mental health and medical rehabilitative services. Overall, there are 430 facilities in the MEDIAN Group, comprising 307 Priory facilities with 5,364 beds in the United Kingdom caring for 35,000 people, and 123 facilities and 20,000 beds and therapy places in Germany, caring for around 260,0000 patients, with approximately 35,000 employees overall. MEDIAN manages patients who have experienced symptoms of COVID-19, and/or Long COVID, and shares information for medical professionals at: www.long-covid.de