Raising awareness – Vicki is our NHS Hero

Back in 2007, after becoming fed-up with working in retail, Vicki Gobsill (30) decided it was time for a career change. After witnessing the rewards her mum and aunty both had from working within care, Vicki decided this was the path for her.

“I studied mental health nursing at university and worked as a health care assistant at the same time,” said Vicki.

“I always felt that mental health nursing was more suited to me than general nursing, I find people fascinating and I wanted to be able to have the time to spend talking to patients and getting to know them and I didn’t feel that would be the case in an acute hospital.”

Once she had qualified in 2010, Vicki joined Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Trust as a staff nurse, based at Bushey Fields Hospital. She later moved to work at the day hospital, which used to be based at Bloxwich Hospital in Walsall. This was decommissioned in 2016 and it was then that Vicki moved into her current role as lead nurse for the Therapy and Liaison Community Service (TALCS).

“There is no typical shift for me,” explained Vicki.

“Each day is different and sees me meeting and working with different people. Half of my time is dedicated to managing the TALCS team and then with the other half, I deliver therapeutic groups or one to one sessions for people who are diagnosed with depression and other mental health conditions such as anxiety or trauma.

“I also spend a lot of time working with the third sector and volunteers who help to support people with a diagnosis of dementia in Walsall.”

Earlier this month, Vicki organised an event called exploring cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) and it is this that she says is her career highlight to date.

“CST is a NICE recommended group therapy intervention for people with dementia and is something that we deliver daily as a team, as well as supporting staff at Bloxwich Hospital to deliver on the wards.

“When we first started TALCS, we discussed having a forum where we could share learning and best practice with other people and organisations who are delivering CST, so for us to have an event, where over 70 people came together to discuss it and hear from patients who have benefited from CST was amazing and really empowering.”

Vicki said that her next big challenging is maintaining the service and developing more dementia pathways, particularly for people with early onset of the condition.

“Sadly, we are seeing more and more people in their 30s and 40s receiving a diagnosis of dementia,” said Vicki.

“So we will keep working hard to ensure that there are as many things as possible in place to support them.”

Outside of work, Vicki enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children.

“We love to spend time outdoors as a family,” smiled Vicki.

“Each weekend we go to the park – it’s our special family space.”

So who is Vicki’s own hero?

She said: “All the people that volunteer their time in Walsall, to support people with a mental health condition.

Vicki’s mental health message: “You are 80% more likely to have good mental health and recover from a mental health condition if you can see nature – so take time to spend outdoors and appreciate what’s around you.”