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A nurse of more than 30 years is encouraging others to join the profession. 

Speaking to mark International Nurses Day (May 12), John Chilton, Nurse Consultant with ²gether NHS Foundation Trust, said nursing was still a proud profession and one that younger people should consider joining if they possess the right attributes.

John, 49, who is based at Wotton Lawn Hospital, in Gloucester, said: “Nursing is not for everybody, but if you have a mixture of what we call the 6Cs – compassion, commitment, courage, competence, communication and care – then nursing is the ideal profession.

“We face a lot of challenges, but if you have a natural empathy for people and want to make a difference to people’s lives, then it’s a great career.”

John started training in 1983 in Hampshire and, apart from two years in general nursing, and three years out while completing a Psychology degree, he has been a mental health nurse for his whole career.

Working initially in Hampshire and Oxfordshire, he moved to Gloucestershire 12 years ago and is now a Nurse Consultant. The role sees him divide his time in four ways – 50 per cent of his time is spent with patients in the community or inpatient wards, with the remainder spent on research, teaching and service development.

John, who has also completed a Master ’s degree, and is currently completing his PhD, works alongside the University of Gloucestershire and University of the West of England in his research role. His speciality is Dual Diagnosis – where service users have been diagnosed with a mental illness and a co-existing substance abuse problem.

John initially went into nursing and took a keen interest in mental health as he had a friend who was mentally unwell. Seeing his friend going through such a difficult time meant John felt he wanted to try and help others in a similar position, and he says many mental health nurses get into the profession for those very reasons.

“There is a shortage, nationally, of mental health nurses at the moment, “John explained.

“But many of us have friends and family members who are mentally unwell, and if you want to support people and support them to aid their own recovery, mental health nursing is a great way to do it.”