Mental Health Nurses’ Day 2021:
Meet the Nightingale Nurses

February the 21st marks World Mental Health Nurses’ Day (#MHNursesDay); a day that calls to celebrate, describe and promote the mental health nursing profession in the UK. 

About Nightingale Hospital’s nursing team

The nursing department at Nightingale Hospital has the critical role of delivering around-the-clock care for our patients.

All nurses at Nightingale are highly specialised across all areas of psychiatry and are able to care for patients of all acuity and complexity levels. This spans from general mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety; to addictions and eating disorders.

Our team is highly skilled at managing patients who present with complex psychiatric conditions including psychosis, schizophrenia, mania as well as patients with a dual diagnosis.

In recognition of Mental Health Nurses’ Day, we put the spotlight on our extremely dedicated, passionate and caring nursing team, and asked them to share what they love about mental health nursing. Below are some of the highly insightful responses we received.

If you are interested in exploring a career in mental health nursing with Nightingale Hospital, please look at our careers page, or contact hrenquiries@nightingalehospital.co.uk for more information.


  • What’s your name?  Risq Animasaun
  • Why did you want to become a nurse? I fell into nursing and stayed because I have the aptitude and passion for nursing
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital? Being able to inspire hope when at times, there does not seem to be any. Walking the patient through their recovery is priceless
  • What inspires you? Inspired by the kindness of others and by all those who have come before; including my family.

  • What’s your name? Shahin
  • Why did you want to become a nurse? People with mental health illnesses often suffer in silence because their suffering is not always clear for everyone to see. Whilst we know that medical interventions can help treat most symptoms of mental health illnesses, sitting down and being with someone can be just as powerful; educating them, empowering them and not judging them. I love being there for people who need that someone, so why not do it as my job? Hands down the best job in the world!
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital? We’re a relatively small hospital and so I feel like I know every staff member here. From the catering team to the housekeeping team to the nurses on the floor, I feel like everyone is part of my family and so I try and look after them as one of my family. If I need to speak to him I don’t need to go through lots of hoops to get to the Hospital Director, he’s just down the hallway. If Liverpool wins a football match he’ll always be at my door anyway!
  • What inspires you? Seeing our patients walk out the door in a much better place than when they entered it. It is a small reminder of the positive work we do within our hospital and how we can actually change the lives of the people that come to us. To positively affect an individual’s life is quite a privilege and one that we can be very proud of and inspired by.

  • What’s your name? Lesley Galasso
  • Why did you want to become a nurse?  Way back in 1974 as I was coming to the end of my education I thought, “I know I’ll be a nurse!”.  No looking back from then.  I got a position as a nursing cadet and the rest, as they say, is history. 46 year later I am still here.  I knew this job would fit me and over the years over many fields, I still think this.
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital?  The patients, the appreciation, watch them grow again. I can say on my journey this hasn’t always been the way, but I treasure every minute … and of course, my colleagues who are dedicated and professional at all times.
  • What inspires you? Learning something new.  Realising sometimes we fall before we stand.

  • What’s your name? Ignatius  
  • Why did you want to become a nurse? I’ve been accused of being a compulsive helper in the past so I think my personality leaned a lot towards me making the decision to become a nurse. I also grew up around some family members and friends of the family who experienced mental health difficulties which gave me a lasting curiosity to better understand and empathise with their experience. I genuinely believe, giving of oneself to others is one of the most rewarding experiences; being able to give as part of my work is a bonus!!!
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital? Being able to work closely with various clinical disciplines, teams and departments in a way that allows innovation and change to be made in a way that is fluid and dynamic where you see the immediate impact of decisions that you have been a party to help and benefit others. A case in point is how we have been able to respond and deal with the challenges of the pandemic as a hospital.
  • What inspires you? Supporting patients through their worst and seeing them come through their journey of recovery. Instilling hope where it feels for that other person like there is none, and later seeing them finding it within themselves and their circumstances. Hearing friends and family giving testament to the changes (small and big) for the better that they see in their loved ones over time. Seeing the transformation in the people I meet from admission to discharge.

  • What’s your name? Abosede Titilayo Alao  
  • Why did you want to become a nurse?  I’ve always been a very caring person. My interest in mental health started after working as a health care assistant for 12 years.  I enjoyed working with children and helping people, as a result of my passion to make a difference in people’s lives. After completing my Master’s Degree in Analytical Chemistry with commendation in 2008, I went into teaching in 2012 to teach secondary school chemistry and during my 2nd placement of my PGCE Chemistry, I discovered that I wasn’t getting any satisfaction.  I realised that my happiest moments were when I saw a patient’s face after helping them through a very long and hard journey in their recovery process. I decided to come back to nursing where my heart lies and I felt fulfilled. In addition, my friend who is a mental health nurse is the most influential person in my life. Over the years, I have watched her excel in her career. Every day that we spoke, she would describe innovative collaborative interventions and how she engaged her patients. She also said nursing is a very rewarding and successful career and she truly enjoyed her job.  I spoke with her regarding my career goal; and she convinced me that since I enjoy helping people, being a nurse would suit my personality. As a result of these conversations with my friend, supervision from my line manager, some self-reflection and careful examination of my preference, talents and skills; I have discovered that I enjoy and derive the most satisfaction from nursing. I have been doing this for the past 12 years.
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital? The most rewarding part of working at the Nightingale Hospital is seeing genuine results for each of the patients that I care for. Nightingale is very compassionate towards its employees which I think shows in the number of employees who have worked here for years. The atmosphere is friendly and because it isn’t a large hospital, it does feel like a family, which is great. I find the environment supportive, which has enabled me to improve my skills and knowledge. I have met some amazing people during my 15 years of working at Nightingale Hospital both as an HCA and RMN. Working with these amazing people has given me the opportunity to learn something about them, but also learn something about myself due to the teamwork. The team at Nightingale Hospital is fantastic and support each other. It has given me the opportunity to work in various settings of mental health in a small community. These include working with people with mental health illness such as addiction, working in our previous young person’s unit, patients with borderline personality disorders and eating disorders.
  • What inspires you? I am inspired by the feedback from patients, families, carers, colleagues and family. Also. receiving some lovely thank you cards that I got from patients has made me realised my impact on their treatment. This drove my desire to know full well that I had made a positive impact in their lives and that nursing would best suit my compassion and natural desire to help people. I realised I needed more training to help me support my client group effectively.

  • What’s your name? Randy Senyo
  • Why did you want to become a nurse? Growing up, I never imagined myself as a mental health nurse; albeit that my grandfather was the principal of a nursing training college and my mum is still a practising registered general nurse! Aside from these two, most of my family members work in healthcare, customer service, or related sectors, but I always wanted to work in the financial sector somehow. Who can resist the lure of a smartly suited and booted bank worker, walking around with those classy briefcases?! I eventually completed my first university degree in Business Administration (BA Hons) and immediately secured an entry-level job on the trading floor of a reputable investment bank in the heart of London. I had barely gotten around to understanding my role before the financial sector suffered poor performance and everything changed for me, so it was back to the drawing board. As you’ve already guessed by now, my family entered the scene and immediately ushered me towards what was quickly becoming a family mantra, – “Nursing!” (you can’t run away from destiny, eh?!). I am naturally a ‘people’s person’, enjoy the satisfaction from supporting others through difficult and challenging times, including my active involvement in religious charities.
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital?
    I eventually became a mental health nurse, and fast forward to the present day, I work at Nightingale Hospital as a Ward Manager and to say I enjoy my role in this hospital is an understatement. Every single day in my role as a mental health nurse manager brings a different but unique experience, challenge, exhilaration, and an opportunity to carry on doing what I enjoy doing (supporting others and being supported). The experience is even greater when you realise that you have contributed to seeing a patient through their journey to recovery, and for that, I count myself blessed to be a mental health nurse. I encourage people to join the profession as it’s the best job in the world. Nursing is very challenging, but also provides so many opportunities for an amazing career – and most definitely will offer personal growth too!

  • What’s your name? Niamh
  • Why did you want to become a nurse? Since I was young, I knew that I wanted to be in the caring profession. I loved helping people in anyway way I could. This passion continued through my school years. In secondary school, we were given the option to do some work placement and I jumped at the chance. My obvious choice then was a nursing setting, which was my local community hospital. I can honestly say I loved every second of it, yet I still wondered, “Is this for me?”. Shortly after I got speaking to a family friend, and she had heard I was interested in nursing. She introduced me to the thought of mental health nursing. With over 20-years in the job,  her passion and enthusiasm for her profession were still at an all-time high. I wanted that from my career. That day she told me, “I promise you, if you choose mental health nursing, you will never look back.” Forward to 4 years of training and almost 4 years of qualified working in both Ireland and the UK, I still haven’t looked back. I am very much looking forward to a long career in mental health nursing. I hope that someday I can guide a student/friend or even a stranger, the same way she guided me.
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital? The ultimate reward is seeing patients reach their full potential in recovery. I also feel rewarded by working alongside my team members. Patients come to the Nightingale seeking safety and support, and our aim is to ensure patient satisfaction and safety. This would not be possible without our strong and dedicated team.
  • What inspires you? Perseverance is an attribute that really inspires me, the reason for that is it is something that I experience on a daily basis, by both staff and patients in very difficult situations. When I see patients persevere, it inspires me. It makes me feel proud that my colleagues and I have given someone the hope that they can overcome any obstacle if they follow through with the treatment and care needed. Other times, I (or someone else in my team) may be the one who is feeling challenged or feel under pressure. In times like this, my colleagues and I really come together as a team. Days, weeks and sometimes even months can be a challenge in our profession, but perseverance and patience will always yield a better outcome. A lot of the time there is an easier option than the option to preserve, and that is why I find it inspiring.

  • What is your name? My name is Etadaferua, but friends and colleagues call me Dafe.
  • Why did you want to become a nurse? I wanted to become a nurse because my siblings and I had the privilege to care for our aged, grandparents who had dementia and cancer until their death. I also had an Aunt who died from a mental health-related illness.  Due to the above, I wanted to do something that is challenging and that would make a difference in people’s lives.  I am a naturally caring, curious person and I wanted to use this attitude in helping people to the best of my abilities.  I have always had the innate desire to help people and care for them in times of needs. I’m also blessed to have a wonderful mother from whom I learned so much. My mother is very caring and generous in her love for others, and caring for their needs.
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital? Being part of a mental health nurse at the Nightingale Hospital is rewarding because of the many wonderful people that I had, have and continue to work with. I have also had the opportunity to work with some amazing patients who unfortunately have been through some traumatic experiences, but are determined to go on with their lives.
  • What inspires you? I am inspired by my knowledge of the almighty God, my husband, my children and my entire family.  They all keep me grounded, and I feel very privileged to be loved the way I am loved. I hope that my story can inspire someone to become a future mental health nurse. Many thanks for listening to my story.

  • What’s your name: Fiona Roye -Taylor
  • Why did you want to become a nurse?  Being a nurse has always been my mother’s passion. As a youngster, I was more interested in finance and hospitality. However, I have been told that since I was a child, I have an inherent nature to nurture and care for others.  On arrival in the UK over 20 years ago, I was at a crossroads in my life and was unsure as to what exactly I wanted to pursue as a career. I was lucky to gain employment as a Healthcare Assistant (HCA) at the Nightingale in 2003, following a short period employed as a housekeeper through an agency. Working as an HCA ignited my passion for caring for others. However, I was still decided to pursue higher education (Masters) in what I considered to be my passion, hospitality. I also gained employment within the hospitality industry at a senior level. However, I was not getting the satisfaction that I got when I worked as an HCA. With the hunger for satisfaction and self-fulfilment, I resigned from my job in hospitality and committed to looking after my patients fulltime as an HCA; with a goal to train to become a nurse after a year, if that passion and enthusiasm remained. The year I spent committed to my role as an HCA was a career-defining time. The time spent on the ward supporting and caring for my patients reignited my passion for caring for others when they are at their most vulnerable; as did seeing the look of relief, pleasure and pure joy on their faces at the end of what might have been a challenging journey. That feeling of collaborative working for the good of the patient was what pushed me to complete my postgraduate nursing degree at the University of West London. The decision to return to the Nightingale Hospital post-qualification was an easy one, as I wanted to give back to the organisation and the colleagues that supported and moulded me into the nurse I am today.
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital?  The most rewarding part of being a nurse at Nightingale is the family atmosphere that is created, and the willingness of my colleagues to go above and beyond to ensure that our patients’ needs are met.  My colleagues are caring,  compassionate and supportive. In addition, I find the Nightingale fosters personal and career growth, as staff have the opportunity to work across all three services within the hospital (general psychiatry, addiction and eating disorders) which I have found to be beneficial. With this flexibility and movement between services, I have gained valuable knowledge, skills and experiences which have been instrumental in my progress from HCA to my current role as Charge Nurse.
  • What inspires you? I am inspired by the kind words of gratitude expressed by my patients, families, carers and my staff.  The kindness expressed encourages me to be the best version of myself, which in turn drives me to get the best out of my team.

  • What’s your name? Kara
  • Why did you want to become a nurse? I wanted to become a nurse because as a child, I would always cry whenever the Great Ormond Street Hospital advert would come on TV. The sick children would just grab on my heartstrings and not let go.
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital? The most rewarding part of the job is seeing patients come to the end of their hospital journey and on the road to recovery.
  • What inspires you? I am inspired by hope.

  • What’s your name? Sarah
  • Why did you want to become a nurse? I wanted to become a nurse because I would see my mum come home after work and share her experiences with me and the passion and fire she had ignited the passion I now have which is what still drives me at present.
  • What is the most rewarding part of being a mental health nurse at Nightingale Hospital? The most rewarding part is seeing patient progress and knowing I had a part of the recovery. Also when a patient can admit they have improved, without the help of the team.
  • What inspires you? I am inspired by my team members (on ward 1B) who make me a better nurse

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