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A website for young nurses and the young at heart in Aotearoa

Community Mental Health Nurse / Duly Authorised Officer

Andrea Thomson, RN

I am a Community mental health nurse working on a community assessment team (previously known as the crisis Team)  in central Auckland.

I started my Nursing career at Carrington Hospital, going straight there after I qualified.

I had spent periods of times there in pre-registration which I enjoyed.

I spent years working as an inpatient mental health nurse, mostly in ICU nursing before I moved to work in the community where I have now worked for many years, in crisis work.

As part of this role I am a DAO (duly authorised officer) appointed by the Director of Area mental health services to have a formal role in facilitating the assessment of people under the Mental Health Act.

Part of this role involves investigating concerns for people who may be mentally unwell, offering advice and then making arrangements for people to be assessed. A major part of this role is educating people about how they may be able to access mental health care for people that do not want or think they need this.

It is a challenging job, every day is different, it is a job where you give a lot of yourself.

On any given day I may talk with multiple different people and agencies and people from all walks of life.

There are huge challenges - I have been assaulted, abused, been very scared and very stressed.

Other times I have spent many hours with people and their families, cried  along with people in distress, hugged them when this was needed and felt a huge sense of goodness when I have worked closely with someone that has then recovered and gone on to leave mental health services behind and get on with their lives.

I have worked with some compassionate and skilled nurses with passion for mental health, a great sense of humor and fantastic storytellers.