UH lecturer celebrates International Nurses Day

Laura Lowe has been a senior lecturer in mental health nursing for many years now and a mental health nurse for 15 years.  

Laura Lowe has been a senior lecturer in mental health nursing for many years now and a mental health nurse for 15 years. - Credit: Laura Lowe

A lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire has said she celebrates International Nurses Day through her achievements and love for the job. 

Laura Lowe has been a senior lecturer in mental health nursing for many years and a mental health nurse for 15 years.  

Previously she did a psychology degree and then worked as a support worker in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) unit where she had planned to become a clinical psychologist but instead discovered a love for nursing. 

“I loved being part of a nursing team, all working together for the young person, and enjoyed the breadth of the role. I liked that as a nurse, every part of the day could be therapeutic, from having a meal together, to key work, to supporting the young people individually or as a group when things were hard.  

“I’m lucky that I’ve worked in two CAMHS units that really valued the therapeutic work of a nurse, and the group process, which made the job very dynamic and exciting,” Laura said. 

She worked in a CAMHS unit locally for a year and a half after becoming a nurse and then wanted to gain more experience. This resulted in her working in a research role in a substance misuse team with heroin addicts, then the children’s mental health unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital before finally moving into teaching nursing at UH.   

“I particularly like working with young people and their families, helping them to make sense of what is going on for them as a family, and supporting the young people to put their experiences and feelings into words. I’ve gone on to study an MSc in CAMHS and hope to do further research study in the future,” Laura said. 

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Speaking about her greatest achievements, she said it was hard to pinpoint: “I think as a nurse, it’s often the small day-to-day things that we do that make a big difference to people, how we talk to someone, being that consistent safe presence etc. 

“It’s always been the young people I’ve been working with that has motivated me and made me love the job. Holding recovery in mind when they might have felt it seemed out of reach and knowing that however low or difficult things felt for them, life could get better. Similarly, the families motivated me too and supporting them to support their child.” 

According to Laura: “Nursing is a great career; I’d really encourage people to consider it. There are a lot of opportunities to get experience in care work to see if this is something you enjoy. Nursing opens so many doors and allows you to take your career in different areas. I did specialise in CAMHS as I loved that area, but other people move around quite a lot to try lots of diverse areas.   

“There are a lot of jobs out there now, which allows people to move around and progress in their career. If you want to be a mental health nurse, you must be open-minded, patient and ready for each day to be different. It’s an exciting career and you really get to see the difference you can make in people’s lives.”