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Frankie Gething, Mental Health Practitioner

1. Were you previously aware that as a social worker, you can work for the NHS?

Honestly, I wasn’t sure that I could. In the past when I was studying and did a placement within a community mental health team, the social workers were under the local authority and the nurses were employed by the NHS, and for a long time I believed that this was how it worked.

2. What do you find interesting about your job?

There's so much I enjoyed about the role, from the complexities of mental health, the team that I worked with and supporting the young people under our care, it gave me a huge sense of job satisfaction that I had previously missed in other social work roles. No one day was the same, and although it could be challenging, after all it is social worker, it was most definitely worth it.

3. Have there been any high points - or low points - that you would like to share with people?

Watching the young people that I cared for make progress and seeing that they were on the road to recovery was amazing. It made me feel as though I had a purpose as and was making a difference. When some young people were very unwell, and suffered setbacks, this was difficult, especially when they had been doing so well. It was about learning that health and recovery were not linear, and that you as a worker had to continue to stand with them and support them.

Nobody wants to see anyone suffer or become unwell, and as a social worker you strive to make a difference. It could be emotionally hard to see what had happened to these young people who just wanted to get better.

4. What has been your proudest achievement in your current role?

There have been many, but one would be a young person being able to access her education again. After suffering severe anxiety, she was able to build trust with me and talk and explore her feelings and then we were able create a plan with her school about easing her back in to complete her GCSEs.

Another would be a young person and her family who had completely disengaged with the service, and only wanted to get in contact for prescriptions for her medication. I was able to engage with her and her family, build a rapport, and she started to leave the house to meet with me and eventually started a course at college, after being out of education for years.

This was most definitely an amazing feeling that I had a supporting role in getting her there to fulfil her dreams and help her on her way to reach her potential.

5. What inspired you to become a social worker?

I had started to work for a local authority as a contact supervisor in children's services and then gained the role of family support worker. I really enjoyed working with families and supporting them, as well as keeping the safety of children paramount and felt that gaining my degree in social work was the career I wanted to achieve.

6. Why did you decide to join NHS Professionals?

I felt that NHSP could give me opportunity to fulfil my want to work in mental health as well as giving me the flexibility of working around my family and it did. It also meant that although I did not have a huge amount of experience in the mental health field, they supported me in getting the roles that I wanted.

7. What made you sign-up to join NHSP? Were there any alternatives?

There were so many roles advertised with NHSP, it made me feel that there were a lot of opportunities to finally work in a field that I was interested in and leave the local authority.

There were other roles in other organisations that I looked at, but I felt more secure with NHSP that it could help me gain the experience that I was looking for in mental health and do something that I was interested in.

8. How does your work-life balance at NHSP compare with previous roles?

I felt like I had some control over my working life and hours due to the flexibility that NHSP gave me. I felt as though if I was unhappy or that I couldn't manage the role and family life then I could leave and find something more suitable to me and my family. Fortunately, I didn't feel like this, but knowing that I could move on if I needed to and find another role with support from the NHSP was a real comfort.

9. How, if at all, has working at NHSP improved your relationships and personal life?

Honestly, it was the fact that it gave me the chance to work in a field that I was interested in and had been interested in for years. It was an amazing opportunity, that I most likely would have not got without NHSP!


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