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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Sarah Hatton Mental Health Nursing 2019

Sarah Hatton's Photo

Sarah Hatton, Mental Health Nursing student, credits a recent trip to the USA as a great way of gaining overseas study experience as well as driving her ambition to change mental health nursing for the better.

I am passionate about mental health recovery and keen to learn about how the US’s use of the term ‘well-being’ could be introduced in the UK to reduce stigma.

Sarah’s visit came about as part of her Professional Development Experience (PDE) in Year 2 that offers Nursing and Midwifery students the opportunity to experience a personal goal or ambition.

Sarah says, “I knew that I wanted to observe mental health nursing in a new environment where I would be out of my comfort zone and could see how mental health is delivered in a different country.

“I have witnessed some very challenging times within the NHS and worked with dedicated staff who despite their efforts are constantly fighting for change. I am passionate about mental health recovery and I was keen to learn about how the US’s use of the term ‘well-being’ could be introduced in the UK to reduce stigma.

“I wanted to meet mental health nurses from another country to share ideas of the challenges healthcare faces and how they manage their own challenging times. My idea appeared to sound simple but getting my voice heard was not as easy as I had hoped, and without the support of the University it may have stayed that way.”

Southampton Lecturer James Wilson helped Sarah facilitate the trip by introducing her to a connection of his in Connecticut.

Sarah recalls her ten-day visit to the universities of Fairfield and Saint Joseph’s, “I visited an inpatient unit to meet staff and observe care, I attended classes and met current students, and I joined out-patient appointments at a clinic of psychiatry and behavioural health.

“The trip was self-funded but it was worth every penny, or as they say out there…worth every cent.”

Since returning to Southampton, Sarah says the trip has re-enforced her commitment to continuing to pursue her ambition.

She says, “I met one particular nurse during my trip who inspired me to continue my own goals of making change for the future, to ensure that every patient is heard, and treated with dignity and respect.”

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