Student nurse tells how ‘eye-opening’ work with homeless people has ‘drastically changed’ her career outlook.

A student nurse has told how a work placement on the Combined Authority’s Housing First homelessness programme ‘drastically changed’ her career outlook.

Seonna O’Hagan was one of six student nurses who spent the summer gaining experience of dealing with people with complex needs on the authority’s Housing First and Households into Work programmes.

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Her four-week work placement involved shadowing both employment advocates and housing practitioners in the city region ahead of starting her final year of nurse training at Liverpool John Moores University.

Seonna described the experience as ‘an eye-opening, invaluable opportunity’.

The programmes have been working in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University to facilitate the placements, having welcomed two cohorts of between three and six trainee nurses on placement to accompany staff working out in the community.

The aim of the initiative is for the students to be able to learn more about the clients’ complex needs so they can change and improve how people are supported when they access health and social care settings in future.

Seonna said:

“I’ve always wanted to be a mental health nurse. I’ve always wanted to help people in need, particularly those dealing with conditions such as bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety and depression. When I came on this placement, I knew that Housing First supported homeless people who were managing mental illness, but I have learnt so much about how they are treated.

“I always assumed I would work in a clinical setting, but now being on this placement, working out in the community with vulnerable people, meeting the service users in their home setting and learning more about them as people, their backgrounds and how they came to be on the programme, it’s been a real eye-opening experience and has drastically changed my outlook for my future career.”

Based across the six areas of the Liverpool City Region, Households into Work supports long-term unemployed people who have difficulty finding and sustaining employment due to a range of issues, while Housing First supports entrenched homeless people with complex issues into their own home.

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