04 March 2019
Mental Health Trust leads the way with first nurse Approved Clinician
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health
Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust is amongst only a handful of NHS Trusts
in the South of England to have appointed a nurse to the role of
Traditionally, only psychiatrists could be an Approved
Clinician, which meant they had sole responsibility for the overall
care and treatment of someone detained under the Mental Health Act.
But in 2007 amendments were made enabling non-medics, such as
nurses, social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists,
to become Approved Clinicians. There are only 70 non-medical
Approved Clinicians in England and Wales, with only approximately
five of these being nurses, in the South of England.
Sarah Wood, who has been a Registered Mental Health Nurse (RMN)
for over 20 years and joined AWP in 2010, is the Trust's first
non-medical Approved Clinician, having received her qualification
in January 2019.
Sarah has worked in a number of roles throughout her career,
including as a ward manager, modern matron and service manager and
now works in AWPs Secure Services at Blackberry Hill Hospital in
Bristol as an Approved Clinician, where she is responsible for a
number of service users. She works closely with two Consultant
Psychiatrists in the low secure unit, as well as other Consultants
in the Medium Secure unit. Their knowledge, and support is
invaluable to her.
Speaking about the role, Sarah said: "I am delighted to have
completed my portfolio and received my approval. For nurses who
want to progress in their careers there become fewer opportunities
to provide clinical input, as the role becomes more about
management. Being an Approved Clinician allows me to continue to
work with service users to develop their care pathways and input
into their treatment.
"My duties include working alongside service users and the
multi-disciplinary team in helping and supporting service users to
get ready for discharge, through Care Programme Approach (CPA)
meetings, ward rounds and care planning. I can renew sections when
required and discharge from civil sections when it is appropriate
to do so.
Sarah continued said: "I enjoy spending time with service users,
and I love learning. I have found this role completely refreshing
and the consultant group I work with have really embraced it. I am
very fortunate that I have been able to complete my portfolio and
qualifications for this role while carrying out my day duties,
meaning I could gain the essential experience needed.
"I think it's really exciting for AWP, it's a really forward
thinking approach to be looking at multi-disciplinary Approved
Clinicians and I would like to thank everyone within the Trust and
Secure Services who have supported this role, for being innovative
and open to new ways of working. I really feel that the Trust has
invested in me to obtain the skills and knowledge I need and
allowed me the time I needed to achieve this. I hope that the Trust
will consider more Approved Clinician roles in the future."
Consultant Psychiatrist, Claire Taylor, said: "We are so pleased
that Sarah has gained Approved Clinician status. She has worked
incredibly hard to complete a portfolio which demonstrates that she
has all the competencies to take on the role. We are really proud
that AWP's Secure Services and senior management have recognised
the strengths that nurses can bring to the role of Approved
Clinicians and they have invested in this position. Sarah brings a
wealth of previous experience to this role which will not only be
beneficial to our service users, their families and carers, but
also to our staff."