My job

Raising the profile of mental health nursing

Julia Terry tells Clare Lomas about what it means to be the UK’s first mental health nurse to be awarded a fellowship with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

In 2015, Julia Terry became the first mental health nurse in the UK to be awarded a fellowship with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Julia Terry helps to shape NICE guidance.

Now an associate professor at Swansea University, Ms Terry was a senior lecturer when she applied for the NICE fellowship, and is convinced this was a key factor in her promotion. 

‘A NICE fellowship is a 3-year opportunity to further your knowledge and influence in your specialist area of practice,’ she says.

‘Being a NICE fellow has given me a platform to drive health improvement and raise the profile of mental health nursing. I’m thrilled to be the first mental health nurse appointed to the role.’ 

NICE provides guidance to the NHS and aims to improve care. Every year, it appoints health and social care staff as NICE fellows, who work to raise the profile of the organisation and promote high-quality care and innovative practices.

The fellows also act as ambassadors to help shape NICE guidance and improvement initiatives. 

Education and involvement 

At Swansea University, Ms Terry leads the mental health team in the department of nursing. Her fellowship has three strands, focusing on education and public and patient involvement: 

  • Setting up the NICE student champion scheme at the university for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.
  • Developing and promoting teaching resources to inform health professionals about NICE, including reviewing teaching materials on mental health issues.
  • Developing public and patient involvement initiatives in Wales, in partnership with the government. 

Ms Terry says the NICE fellowship has given her the opportunity to better understand how NICE discusses and develops guidelines.

‘I have learned about the NICE education team and the many resources available to health and social care practitioners, and have a better grasp of how NICE engages with the public and how people can get involved and make a difference.’ 

Opportunities on offer

Each NICE fellow has an advisor to guide and support them, and their fellowship provides an opportunity to: 

  • further the aims of organisations. 
  • develop their knowledge and network.
  • act as an ambassador, influencing health and social care locally and nationally.
  • raise awareness of NICE guidance and quality standards.

‘This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the workings of NICE and to link it with a health improvement project in your specialist area,’ says Ms Terry.

‘Mental health nursing is going through some challenging times, so the opportunity to have a voice, and to see service users actively involved with a large public body, is encouraging’.

NICE also runs a 1-year scholarship scheme, in which individuals undertake a supported improvement project related to NICE guidance. 

Apply for fellowship 

To find out more about NICE fellows and scholars, and to apply for the 2017 fellows intake, go to:

Fellowship applications for 2017 close on 4 November 2016. 

Clare Lomas is RCNi assistant editor 

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