To be honest I am absolutely terrible at selling myself, blowing my own trumpet has never really been an art form I have mastered!
I know full well the below, at present, reads likes a boring CV or I am applying for a job....I know I'm not! What I am trying to do is give you a flavour of who I am, what I like, what makes me tick and why I so much want to specialise as a nurse in mental health.
I will continue to work on this page and try to better give you a picture of me without boring your eyes away from the screen, so please for now view "me" as a work in progress.
I am Karen; wife to Marc and Mum to Gemma (sounds a bit like a line from Gladiator doesn't it) I like being around people and animals. I am good humoured, sensitive, trustworthy and honest.
I like a laugh with the best of them but know when to be serious. I am all for fair play and do not like any form of bullying or harassment of others.
I like to bake bread and cakes. I do love a jigsaw puzzle, sometimes getting lost for hours in time with it...call it extreme puzzling!
I do like reading, especially books by Dawn French who I find to be wonderfully funny.
I love our 3 cats, each has their own personality and provide hours of entertainment, although at 4am when they begin to play I tend to view them in a less favourable light.
Fifteen years ago I decided that I wanted to know more about mental health given my change in job direction. Before this I had worked a lot in retail, administration and did not really have a true direction for a career.
From the moment I started working in a mental health arena, I found it a fascinating area and soon noticed that I was asking many questions. At the time, I was working as an administrator in mental health and not in a clinical role, so I undertook training to improve my administration skills and medical knowledge. This was not enough for me, so I changed jobs to facilitate more learning. Still this was not enough and after more questions and learning I moved into a clinical role, as a Clinical Support Worker.
I had crossed the line from administration to clinical at last! Now I set about gaining experience of mental health from a different perspective within a multi disciplinary team. The work was involved, interesting and very rewarding. Within in a short time frame I found my views and suggestions around care for patients were equally as valid & respected as others in the team.
This only increased my desire to learn more. In a twist of sheer good fortune, I managed to get on to a foundation degree course in mental health, supported by my then employer NSFT, Norfolk & Suffolk Mental Health Trust. Two years later, and about 11 ½ years after my first desire for nursing, I am sitting with a degree and doing a good clinical role, but I still wanted to know more and be more.
So here I am, half way through a three year nursing degree at the University of East Anglia and loving the opportunity I have to learn. Any learning that I do after I qualify will just allow me to learn more about a chosen speciality and further improve the quality of nursing care that I will be able to deliver.
I have seen my confidence grow with my increased knowledge. I have received some good feedback from professionals that I have worked with which just goes to show that I can do this. Back in September 2015, I felt very unsure of my abilities to manage a degree in nursing. The first time I sat in a lecture I found myself pinching my skin trying to see if this was a dream or was I actually there. After many assignments, I can confirm that I am actually there and loving every minute of it. Choosing to take a degree in mental health nursing was among the best decisions I have ever made.
So, in my effort to learn more and to see more, I am off to Tanzania in August 2017 for three weeks. I am excited to see what I can learn from this and hope to answer my ever-increasing list of questions.