Storie Series: Alison Peachey, Dual Diagnosis Nurse | Our blog

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The Maudsley Blog

Storie Series: Alison Peachey, Dual Diagnosis Nurse

2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, a time to reflect on the skills, commitment and expert clinical care that nurses and midwives bring, and the impact they make on the lives of so many.

With this in mind, we've decided to interview some of the nurses at SLaM and showcase the wide variety of nursing roles. First up, we meet Dual Diagnosis Nurse Alison Peachey. She works with patients in Lambeth who have problems with drugs or alcohol, alongside a mental health condition.

"My role involves working with patients who have problems with drugs or alcohol, alongside a mental health condition. This year is my 30th anniversary working at the Trust where I also trained! Over the years I have worked in community and inpatient addiction services, including pregnancy liaison and a research post. I have a passion for the Trust and have worked with many amazing colleagues over the years.

"I’ve been in this role for two years. My aim is that patients with drug or alcohol problems who are on our acute wards in Lambeth get the best standard of care. I support staff on the wards and run training courses for our staff and students. It’s great to be in a role where I am supporting colleagues as well as patients. I particularly love working with students and newly qualified nurses, being able to support them in their journey. The acute wards can be very challenging at times and I admire all those who work there.

"I assess patients and help them plan how they will manage in the community after they leave hospital. I may take them to local recovery support services such as The Harbour, which has been brilliant. I try to help patients to think about their drug and alcohol use, and whether they want to stop or reduce, and what support they will need to achieve this. It’s lovely to build links with some great services, including charities, peer mentors and volunteers. Fulfilling Lives, is an example of a service I have worked with, who have done some amazing work and really gone the extra mile.

"I start the day by checking emails and see if there’s anything urgent to respond to. For example there might be a patient on methadone and I might need to see them if they are having problems. Some days I train staff, some days I will be visiting wards and seeing if there are any issues. Sometimes the staff are able to shadow me when I meet patients and I can explain to them what I’ve done. I document my actions on the Patient Journey online system. I also make sure every ward has an information board about local drug and alcohol services and other sources of support.

"With some patients you build a bond that you never forget. Sometimes you can get the best rapport with the most complex and challenging patients. When you’re with them through the most awful time it’s a very powerful role to be in. It can be tough at times. You have to look behind why they are angry or upset.

"I remember vividly bumping into one of my former patients in the street. It had been six years since we had worked together. I had supported her while she was pregnant and using drugs. She hugged me and said she would never forget me. I felt quite overwhelmed. There are so many patients I will always remember."

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