Passion for helping others – Nick is our NHS Hero

Nick Turner (38) from Willenhall comes from a family of health and social care workers, but it wasn’t until 2012 that he decided to join them and since graduating as a mental health nurse, he hasn’t looked back since.

Nick’s interest in mental health services has been there, long before he qualified, due to his experience with a close family member.

“One of my close relatives suffered from Schizophrenia and was in and out of inpatient settings during my younger years,” explained Nick. “When visiting, I often thought how rewarding it must be to be able to help people in their time of need.”

Nick has had a number of different jobs, but it wasn’t until his family encouraged him that he decided to retrain in mental health nursing.

“I’ve been a chef, worked at the child support agency and also at the job centre. I always wanted to have a job where I was helping people and those roles didn’t really give me that.

“My family would say, ‘Come on Nick – you are so caring and compassionate all the time – put it to some real use.’ So I decided to take their advice and I enrolled on a course at Wolverhampton University.”

Nick currently works as a deputy ward manager at Bushey Fields Hospital, which is managed by Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Trust.

“I really enjoy my job,” he said. “I meet different people every day and there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone come into the ward in a highly distressed state and then seeing the process of them getting better, holding a meaningful conversation with you and then going back into the community, feeling like they have a purpose or identity.”

Nick says that it’s this kind of reward and the idea that he has helped a patient or their family that drives him and gives him real job satisfaction.

“I mean, I used to get ‘give my compliments to the chef’ after I’d cooked someone a perfect fillet steak, but for someone to say to me – ‘thank you – you really made a difference to mine or my family’s life’ means the absolute world to me.”

Nick will shortly be embarking upon a new challenge, as he moves to a different role within the Trust.

He said: “I am moving to Walsall to become a community psychiatric nurse. I know I will miss the ward, but I am really looking forward to having a new challenge.”

Outside of work, Nick enjoys spending time with his family.

“A lot of my time is spent taking my son to football and my daughter to ballet – but I wouldn’t change that – my preferred way to relax is by spending time with my family.

“I particularly enjoy regular family holidays to Malaysia to see extended family. My mum is originally from there, so it is always great to return and see everyone.”

So who is Nick’s hero?

“It has to be my mum,” he beamed. “She has brought me up as a single parent and has instilled good values in me about being caring and compassionate. She is my absolute rock and seeing how much she enjoys her role as a nurse, was one of the reasons why I chose the career I have.”

Nick’s mental health message: “There is no health without mental health – don’t be afraid to talk about your problems.”