My job

I am proud of the nurses my ex-students have become

'I want to see more mental health nurses doing research and building their own evidence base'

'I want to see more mental health nurses doing research and building their own evidence base' says principal lecturer at the University of South Wales, Anne Fothergill.

What is your job?

I am a principal lecturer in mental health. My main role is to teach pre-registration mental health nurses and to act as a personal tutor to a group of mental health nursing students.

Anne Fothergill

I also teach at post registration level and currently lead the MSc Professional Practice dissertation module. I supervise a range of assignments, pre-registration dissertations and Masters’ dissertations. I currently have five PhD students. The main focus of my role is to manage modules, supervise assignments and dissertations, lead research, supervise PhD students, be a personal tutor, conduct educational audits and act as link for clinical areas in a local Health Board.

As a research active lecturer, I am involved in leading research projects. My current research interests are in dementia care and I am leading on this in my faculty.

Why did you become a nurse?

My mother and grandmother were nurses, so it was in the genes. I initially went into general nursing as this is what my mother and grandmother did, but decided to become a mental health nurse after my first mental health placement.

What might you have done otherwise?

From an early age I wanted to go into the police force, so this might have been my alternative career, or possibly a historian as I love history.

Where did you train?

I went to Canterbury and Thanet Health Authority to train as a general nurse and then to Guy’s Hospital in London to do a 13-month shortened mental health nursing course. When I trained nurses could do more than one registration.

What excites you most about your work?

I have been in nurse education for 21 years now and I am still in touch with students who qualified many years ago. I am proud of the nurses they have become and seeing them progressing in their careers is satisfying. Mental health research always excites me, and I want to see more mental health nurses doing research and building their own evidence base for mental health nursing care.

How do you inspire others?

I hope I do inspire others but that is for others to say. Being a role model is very important. I would never ask someone to do something that I was not prepared to do myself. I can be a perfectionist and have very high standards. 

What is your greatest challenge?

Proving to myself every day that I am good at what I do.

What has given you the most satisfaction?

Achieving qualifications beyond my expectations.

What or who inspires you, and why?

My late mother. She was a nurse for 47 years and went above and beyond for her patients.

Outside work what do you enjoy doing?

Spending time with my family, reading historical novels and long walks.

What makes a good mental health nurse?

That is a hard one to answer. Someone who has compassion, empathy, humility and a good sense of humour.

What advice would give a newly-registered nurse?

Work hard, do the best you can for service users, take care of your own mental and physical well-being, and remember that it is a privilege to be a nurse.

What is likely to affect mental health nurses over the next 12 months?

The new NMC nursing standards, changes to the bursary system, new nursing curriculums, and, in Wales, a commitment by students to stay and work in Wales for two years after qualifying.

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