Hi. I have been a MH nurse since 1986 and I've spent equal time working in clinical services and university settings. I love the relational focus and challenges of MH nursing and I have stayed connected to practice by working at St Vincent's. I also love supervision and have belonged to an interdisciplinary peer supervision group for many years.
In my approach to MHN I have always been curious about the extreme experiences of us all as humans, and the meaning we make in our lives. I enjoy exerting effort in being active, creative and thinking. I have a great deal of respect for the unique and creative ways people get by, use our strengths and grow, through tough times. I am refreshed by connecting with friends and family, making art, swimming, cooking and singing.
I qualified as a mental health nurse in Victoria in 1986 and have practiced continuously since; I was also registered as a MN in UK in the 1990s. I studied for a BN degree in 1999 and did research into MH nursing ethics (Honours in 2003) and MH nursing assessment practices (PhD in 2008).
Most of my clinical experience is in public sector adult and adolescent services, including 3 years early in my career in adolescent inpatient setting and then in community adult settings, 4 years in case management and 3 years in CATT.
My current role/work
I am the Director of the Centre for MH Nursing at Melbourne Uni and a CNC at StVincents health.
Our team at CentreMHN combines the expertise of MH nurses and consumer academics. Together, we provide a combination of teaching, research and engaging with MH nurses and others in the sector.
As a CNC at StVs I offer my expertise in practice development, education and research to support the MH nursing leadership and education teams.
I currently use my clinical supervision skills when co-facilitating communities of practice, such as the CoP of CNCs in inpatient settings. I provide individual CS to one CNC.
In the 1990s I participated in two clinical supervision workshops (introduction and facilitation) in my service, but most of the learning I have gained about clinical supervision comes from my own diverse experience of participating over 30 years. I have valued supervision in both group and individual modes. Since my 3rd year of practice I have been continuously committed to my own clinical supervision in some form, sometimes related to a mode of therapy. I trained in narrative therapy in the early days at the Bouverie Centre, also learned about brief solutions focused therapy (BSFT) and participated in group supervision using these two approaches for several years. I engaged in clinical supervision for several years with a Kleinian therapist. In the early 2000s I cofacilitated clinical supervision training with Tessa Moriarty at Eastern Health.
Currently I teach introductory theory and practice using narrative and BSFT models with postgrad students of MHN at Unimelb
My approach to supervision
Both narrative therapy and BSFT inform my approach to providing clinical supervision. I assume that supervisees have resources and strengths to tackle the issues they bring to supervision. In sessions we work with their goals for supervision and for their own growth as practitioners. We reflect on how this respectful and creative approach parallels the work a nursing supervisee will be doing with consumers and colleagues.
Also, because of my research into the everyday practices of MH nursing (ie sociology of nursing) I am keyed into taken for granted culture and expectations on nurses in our healthcare settings. Nursing work is shaped by organisational routines, spaces and structures. I sometimes bring these ideas into my supervision practice, to consider, explore and reframe challenging situations.
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