Chloe Ball, Mental health nurse, Sheffield Health and Social Care is a finalist in the Patient's Choice Award in the RCN Nursing Awards 2023
Mental health staff nurse Chloe was nominated by Mizata Kamara for ‘changing her life and giving her the prospect of a future’.
She says: ‘Despite nearly a year acutely struggling with mental health and still having a long journey ahead, I'm now planning to attend university in 2024, learning to drive and volunteering.
‘I came into Dovedale adult inpatient mental health services aged 18, youngest on the ward, autistic and first admission of my life. Ageing out of the foster care system meant no family support. I was scared, hopeless and feeling pretty let down. I believed any service was wasted on me.
‘But Chloe saw strength in me and worked through my complex trauma, depression adapting care to my needs each day.
‘For weeks, I would not talk or leave my room. Chloe dedicated daily time to build trust, rapport and get to know me. She helped create a communication system to support me in verbalising my feelings and helping staff understand me.
‘Having sensory issues/autism means I'm easily overwhelmed, require predictability and have distressing meltdowns on busy wards. She provided quiet spaces and created a sensory room to help calm me. She used open, clear and non judgmental communication especially if my autism meant I bombarded her with lots of anxieties, doubts and what ifs.
‘I’m black with Afro-Caribbean, very coily, hard-to-manage hair but Chloe would ring round nearby salons to find someone to help when I was feeling so low and unable to care for it myself. She searched online for protective hairstyles and ways to manage them when an appointment got cancelled causing distress.
‘Chloe advocated for me and taught me I was worth fighting for. I didn't have family attending team meetings but Chloe ensured my care was as exceptional as for anyone else. She made the ward a community, buying drinks and snacks for New Year’s Eve with her own money so those who couldn't go home got to celebrate.
‘Once I was feeling better, Chloe helped me plan goals, learn skills and aspire to things for the future. She helped me believe I could get back into education or work. She advocated for me to start some volunteering at the children's hospital, giving me motivation and purpose.
‘Chloe deserves this award because she gave me the chance to work through my past, live through my present and have a chance at a future despite the adversities. I've never felt so understood and accepted for who I am.