I come in and realise I have a tribunal report due tomorrow. I know the patient well and I have lots of documentation, but still I could do without it especially as I know it will take up most of today.
The afternoon is full of Care Programme Approach (CPA) meetings and paperwork. It feels a never-ending battle trying to update written notes while also speaking to patients, families and colleagues.
I speak to the patient whose report I need to write. The conversation is short; he does not want to talk to me about it and sees no need for him to remain in hospital.
I receive a call from the local safeguarding team about an assault on one of the wards. I agree to check if the victim wants to report it to the police and to send in a written referral.
I’ve been tying to arrange a visit by a child for the last few weeks. We have very tight child visiting procedures which need to be followed to ensure children are safe when they visit a parent in the hospital. After weeks of missing each other’s calls, I agree a date with the child’s family and book the child-visiting room. I confirm it with the ward and make a note to check the room beforehand to ensure there’s good supply of biscuits and squash.
I speak to a student social worker about a possible placement and try not to put her off. The work is fascinating and rewarding but I’m aware of the stigma around secure work.
I have to race back to the office after grabbing a sandwich, to add the final touches to my report before sending it to our mental health administrator.
Ward round. Our multidisciplinary team works well together and we share the same values. We have one patient who we don’t think is progressing and we discuss different options. It’s difficult because some of us have known this patient for years and we feel torn about the possibility of them moving elsewhere. We discuss ward shortages and how we can cover nursing staff absences.
I visit the ward. This is the most valuable part of my week; spending time with patients and getting to know them a bit better. Often a well-timed game of snap with a patient can improve our working relationship far more than anything else.
I’m summoned to a meeting about carers to discuss how we can better support them on the unit. I come away with a letter to re-draft and a promise to look at carers information in time for the next meeting. I return to my desk, re-draft the letter and send it to colleagues for feedback.
I visit the ward to talk to a new patient who’s just moved from a young offenders unit. He’s a teenager and new to the area but seems to have settled in well. I ask him about his family and offer to contact them to go though visiting procedures.
Another ward round. This one goes on for several hours because we have a new patient, who’s been transferred from prison and is causing the ward some concern. We discuss the risk assessment for this patient and talk about how the ward will manage potentially risky situations. This patient has a history of hostage-taking which makes all staff anxious.
I visit another ward and speak to a patient about benefits. The ward is happy because it’s Friday which means it’s takeaway night. I plan to do the same and head for home.