Oxford Health has more than 1,500 nurses working in mental and community health settings.

They are highly skilled, multi-faceted professionals from a host of backgrounds that represent our diverse communities.

2020 is our time to reflect on these skills, the commitment and expert clinical care they bring, and the impact they make on the lives of so many.

This year is also an opportunity to say thank you to the professions; to showcase their diverse talents and expertise; and to promote nursing and midwifery as careers with a great deal to offer.

Oxford Health Branding for Year of the Nurse 2020

Humaira’s life was changed by the tragic loss of her sister but the kindness of a stranger inspired her to connect with others in distress and pursue a career in mental health nursing.

A patient said: “You never give up, do you?”

Photo of Oxford Health nurse

Now, she’s a dedicated deputy ward manager helping women with acute conditions.

But it wasn’t so long ago that Humaira was struggling with her own grief, with no obvious career path. She describes this period of her life a ‘cloudless daze’, before a moment in her life that gave her clarity.

The turning point was a conversation with a lecturer about loss and grief, which she describes as a ‘profoundly moving experience’. Humaira was touched by how this stranger reached out to her, gave her space and how he listened.

“That set me on a path of wanting to connect with others in distress.”

After completing her degree in psychology, Humaira was then inspired to care for adolescents and adults presenting with mental illness so she began a postgraduate degree in mental health nursing.

“I found that my own tragedies can minister hope to others.”

Four years ago, Humaira began her role on an acute mental health ward with Oxford Health at the Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. This ‘opened the door’ for her and she has never looked back.

“One of the key attractions to my role is encountering the never-ending variety of people, be it patients, carers or staff.”

The Whiteleaf Centre service cares for people facing an acute mental health crisis. “My trademark is to go into work to do the very best, accompanied by a strong will, strong work ethos, strong stomach and infinite patience and empathy. I find that my service to others begins and ends in sincerity.”

“One of the joys of what I do is the personal contact I have with those who experience mental illness.”

“My job can make me laugh and feel disheartened, sometimes in the same conversation or day.”

As a deputy ward manager caring for those who are acutely unwell, Humaira says that no day or shift is the same and that ‘everything can change in a blink of an eye’.

“I am still learning to make a difference every day.”

But her patience, kindness and empathy with individuals, who feel isolated in the grip of mental illness, helps them to find a way out of a dark place.

Humaira is determined to make a difference to those with mental illness and to give hope to carers.

“I recall words expressed to me by a severely depressed individual: ‘You never give up, do you?”

“I have met some wonderful and brave people who have faced great adversities with courage and dignity.”

Humaira has recently completed a Master’s degree, looking at implementing safety planning in individuals with borderline traits who are in crisis.

Her advice to the those who are interested in pursuing a career in nursing is “think very carefully”.

“Being a nurse is no easy feat; you work in a system that can be stimulating and agitating from all angles.”

“Do you have what it takes to challenge these boundaries whilst keeping patients at the heart of what you stand for.

“IF you can do this, with a heart encapsulated with patience and perseverance, please become a nurse.

“It is doing the ordinary extraordinarily well.”

Learn more

Find out more about nursing with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.