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4 October 2023

How working mums rise through the ranks at Cygnet

Laura Massey

Today we caught up with Laura Massey Williams one of our Clinical Managers who works at Cygnet Delfryn Lodge

Laura has worked at Cygnet for over 12 years. First as a Support Worker, then as a Mental Health, and Senior Mental Health Nurse, and now a Clinical Manager.  Laura started her career in care as a Support Worker for the NHS and joined Cygnet in 2011.


What attracted you to Cygnet? 

I had 2 young children, one with severe health needs, so I needed to work close to home. I also knew some people who worked at Cygnet already. I joined; working on Delfryn’s female unit/ward and was so lucky to join a long-standing team at that time – most of whom had been there since the site opened in 2005. I was so lucky; to get their knowledge, a brilliant induction, and, an understanding of their humanist approach to caring for people with mental health needs.


In all your years with Us, has Cygnet been a supportive employer? 

From the start, if I had any concerns or felt overwhelmed, I’ve always been supported. I have a real interest in pharmacy and medication in this setting and trying to understand how things work and why. I’ve always had a lot of questions and wanted to keep learning plus I’ve been privy to many physical observations and this has always been encouraged. In 2015, I went back into education to study at University as a mature student. In 2018, I got my mental health nursing degree qualification. I managed to keep working at Delfryn throughout Uni, working night shifts. When I qualified, I joined the Male Unit at Delfryn.


As a female, and a newly-qualified Mental Health Nurse, how did you find working on the Male Unit?

I got more out of it than I expected. I think I had the wrong perception of how it would be to work with males who are severely unwell. Obviously, there can be some uncomfortable situations and you can sometimes be exposed to aggressive behaviours, but, I’ve been surprised how much more you can get out of working with men, as they can open up more when given time and encouragement. I had a patient who had been with us for over 4 years and over time he’d been able to have open and honest chats about when and why he felt he could relapse into drugs. Recently, he contacted me as he was being discharged back into the community. After being under supervision for over a decade by various medical organisations, I asked him what had made a difference in finally getting him ready to go back into the community and learn new skills to allow him to start again. He told me that Cygnet had treated him and spoken to him ‘like a human being’.  I think sometimes there can be so much clinical speak within mental health and the medical professions supporting service users, we forget how to interact and communicate with them ‘normally’.  At Delfryn – we have a real humanistic approach and, as a Clinical Manager now, I know how to support my Nursing team to be able to build better rapport and communication with our patients and to support the Team in turn, while they support the patients.

Cygnet has created a Women's network. The mission of the network is to engage and empower women and their allies across Cygnet.

How has it been transitioning from Senior Nurse to Clinical Manager – is your day very different? 

I try to balance staying up-to-date with nursing skills and, being visible on the wards a couple of times a day, with the new managerial aspects of my role which include: safeguarding, audits, working with business units, patient referrals, complaints, staffing and alarms. It’s full-on, but you have to make sure you finish on time (as a working mum) and -make lists for everything – you have to know how to prioritise and move tasks to the next day if more urgent work takes priority. You can’t always get everything done and you do sometimes need to work out of hours if any incidents come up. As someone who has worked in a Nursing role – I want to make sure my staff, as well as our patients, are taken care of and supported. If I have to come in on annual leave then I do. My support comes from the Hospital Ward Manager and the other Clinical Manager on the two other Delfryn sites – female and step-down.


What has been one of your proudest moments working for Cygnet?

In 2021, I created a Quality Improvement Programme – an in-house nurse audit, to help reduce medical errors with patients’ medication. I created a poster using quantitative and qualitative data which Nurses could do weekly to encourage and foster best practices and procedures, which if followed, resulted in a reduction of errors. The Royal College of Psychiatrists published my work at their Rehabilitation Conference in November 2021.

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