A clinical unsung hero – Katrina is our NHS Hero

With a determination to create a better life for herself and her children, Katrina Hipkins took the plunge to juggle university and family life, in the hope of becoming a nurse. Now looking back, she realises that all her hard work has paid off.

Now working as a staff nurse at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (DWMH), Katrina supports people over the age of 65 who are experiencing mental health difficulties. She offers specialist assessment, care and treatment, and is based at Bushey Fields Hospital in Dudley.

“I’ve been a nurse for five years. It’s a job I’m so passionate about, to provide person-centred care with some amazing staff who work alongside me,” said Katrina.

Katrina is a much-loved colleague and friend to everyone on the ward at Bushey Fields, and across the whole Trust. She is known for going the extra mile for patients, and this was highlighted when she won the award for ‘clinical unsung hero’ at DWMH’s Recognising Success Awards in October. The awards which are held annually are an opportunity for staff to nominate their colleagues and show them just how much they are appreciated for the hard work they do.

“It was such a proud moment for me to win an award from the Trust.

“I believe that the little things are really important – I always keep a spare packet of crisps in my pocket for any patient or staff member, to make them smile. It’s something I’m known for now on the ward!” she laughed.

Katrina finds her role really rewarding, and finds that her passion keeps her going even on days which are challenging.

She said: “When people ask me what I do for a living and I say “I’m a nurse”, and then tell them I help patients living with dementia, the first thing they say is ‘I bet that’s a hard job.’

“My role is not always easy, it’s mentally and physically draining – but I love being a nurse, so I can get past any obstacles by knowing that I’m helping people.”

Katrina has had many memorable occasions at work, but holds close to her heart a time that a patient thanked her for something she’d helped them with.

“They were so grateful – I remember shedding a tear at the time because of what they said to me. These are really the things that mean the most to me,” she smiled.

In her spare time, Katrina loves listening to music, running with friends, and going out to new places.

So who is Katrina’s hero?

“My mom and dad. They are both hard-working parents; strong, caring and always there for me. They have seen me at my weakest moments and have been my rocks at the lowest points in my life.”

Katrina’s mental health message: “Be the person you want to be and be proud of who you are. There is always someone to listen to you; it’s much easier to bury your head in the sand than to seek help, but don’t be afraid to talk, it’s the first step and just take each day as it comes.”