Story Series: Lewys Beames, Lead Nurse - Reducing Restrictive Practice | Our blog

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Story Series: Lewys Beames, Lead Nurse - Reducing Restrictive Practice

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're interviewing some of the nurses at SLaM to showcase the wide variety of nursing roles. Here we meet Lewys Beames, Lead Nurse - Reducing Restrictive Practice, and find out about his role:

"I trained as a nurse at SLaM and have been working here for nine years. I’ve been in my current role for a year and a half. My role is about helping improving patient care by reducing the use of restrictive practices to manage challenging behaviour. This includes things like restraint, seclusion and other ways patients’ choices and rights can be limited.

"Mental health trusts across the NHS are working hard to reduce restrictive practice. People come to our services when they are at their most vulnerable. Restrictive practices can harm people psychologically as well as physically and may bring back traumatic memories. It’s really important that we are caring in the way we engage with service users and do everything we can to make the service user feel safe.

"Sometimes cultural change can be slow but there has been a real shift in how people think about restrictive practices. We have a responsibility to protect our patients’ rights and think about them as individuals."

What does my role involve?

"I direct the standards and policy for SLaM, help develop our training, deliver teaching and advise on the physical design of our wards. I work across SLaM with lots of professionals and have got to know many different services. I work with SLaM’s lead trainer on PSTS (Promoting Safe and Therapeutic Services) courses for staff and am proud that this training was recently accredited."

What does a typical day look like?

"My days vary a lot. I can spend whole days teaching nurses. I visit clinical teams as much as possible, to hear about their challenges, see what the environments are like, speak to patients directly and advise on clinical cases. I work closely with our Quality Improvement team, professional leads, and our Director of Nursing as well as people with lived experience of mental health problems, their carers and the wider community."

The most rewarding part of my job is…

"Being able to see that my work impacts on patients and improves their care. We’ve done some really good work with Lambeth Independent Advisory Group and Black Thrive (a Lambeth mental health partnership for Black people’s wellbeing)."

Many opportunities within mental health nursing

"I’ve never had a firm idea of which career path to take. As opportunities have come up I’ve gone for things that are new, interesting and challenging. I really enjoy my role. The thing that really surprised me about mental health nursing was the diversity of opportunities and the impact that you can have. The stereotypical view of what a nurse does is so far removed from the wide variety of roles that there are.

"Before this role I worked in acute wards at SLaM. I managed the centralised Place of Safety at Maudsley Hospital - that was an amazing opportunity to develop a new service and a new model of care. The Place of Safety has a dedicated staff team to assess the mental health of people who have been brought there under the police under section.

"We’re not perfect but we are pushing the boundaries of what mental healthcare can be. It’s a really innovative place to work and we have great links with the IoPPN at King’s. I work across the whole Trust so get to see the huge diversity of services here. There are a few services I didn’t know existed when I started nursing."

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