Nurses Day Profile: Ryan Kirkbride, Mental Health Nurse


Acorn Rehabilitation Unit, Carleton Clinic. This is a 10 bed intensive rehabilitation unit for men. Staff work with the patients with the aim of empowering them to live the most fulfilled life that they can.

What did you do before this?

“I worked in the First Step service as an assessment/screening practitioner, and as a senior staff nurse and clinical safeguarding lead in a unit for males with challenging behaviour in the private sector.”

What do you like most about your job?

“This job gives me the opportunity to do some really active and intensive psychological treatments with patients in an appropriate setting. I enjoy having the time to really get to know the people I work with and developing a shared understanding of what has been significant and important in their lives and what has lead them to where and who they are now. I have a keen interest in a number of psychological and creative therapies and enjoying using aspects of these in my individual/key working group interventions with people.”

What are the key challenges of your role?

“Similar to other areas these days, bureaucracy sometimes gets in the way. We could do so much for patients if more resources were available.”

Any advice for people wanting to go into this profession?

“It helps to get a good all round experience working in different mental health environments. My main passion is working with people with a Personality Disorder. I feel that mental health services have a way to go in terms of working effectively with people who present with personality problems/disorders, and evidence highlights that these people are still a marginalised group within services and I am very much one for helping develop services for those with these conditions. My main advice to any budding mental health nurses would be the ability to reflect and focus on the reasons for people presenting with the problems they do, rather than their behaviour. This is something I look for when interviewing aspiring mental health nurses with the University of Cumbria.”

What did you want to do when you were younger?

“When I was younger I wanted to be a vet and then a marine biologist, so a far cry from where I have ended up but I believe I’ve made the right choice in my current profession.”

How do you unwind after a tough day?

“I like to socialise with friends, listen to music, and go to gigs. I enjoy creative therapies in my spare time and hope to introduce more of this to the patients on Acorn.”