Mike's story

Mike has been a specialist learning disabilities nurse working with children with severe challenging behaviour for the last 15 years. He hasn’t always been a nurse though,

“I left school at 16 and went to work in the steel industry in Port Talbot,” remembers Mike “After a few years I was made redundant and got a job in a factory making cigars. My friend from the steelworks retrained as a Learning Disabilities nurse and that sparked an interest for me.”

Mike also retrained and got a job working in a residential care home for adults with profound learning difficulties.

“I spent 20 years working with adults in different settings and ended up managing a care service. I was enjoying it but as I approached by 40th birthday, I thought do I want to be doing this for the next 25 years?”

He decided he wanted a change so Mike decided to specialise in working with children with challenging behaviour and their families.

“It’s a dream job for me really. Every case is different and I love meeting a new family and getting to know them. We can be involved with a family anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, so you can become part of their family. They are all from different social and economic backgrounds and cope with their child’s behaviour in different ways, so we have to adapt our input to suit each family’s needs.

“Very often, once you get to know a family they will want to off-load all their worries and you just have to sit there and mop it all up, then work out how to support the family the best you can. I would say that 70% of our time is spent working with mums and dads, helping them to adapt their behaviour towards their child.”

Mike was nominated for a Cavell Star Award by his team for going above and beyond for his patient’s families. Dr Rebecca Saltmarsh, Clinical Psychologist and colleague explains,

“Mike is a kind man who really understands how difficult life can be for the families he works with. He always allows them the time they need to talk through the difficulties they are facing. Over the years Mike has developed a wealth of experience about working with children whose behaviour challenges and he uses this to benefit all the children and families on his caseload.”

Mike reacted to winning his Cavell Star Award,

“It’s quite humbling really. I just go and do what I do and enjoy the work, I don’t ask to be thanked. But to be recognised and acknowledged that I’m doing a good job, it was shocking!

“Winning this award reflects back on my whole team. They are my little family away from home! We’re a very sharing team, a problem I may be having with a case becomes everyone’s problem and we talk it through. We want the very best outcomes for the children and families that we’re supporting.”

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