Rebecca up for the challenge

AS the nurse unit manager of the new Orange Base Hospital's forensic mental health unit, Rebecca Halsey is looking forward to making a difference in people's lives.

“It's really rewarding,” she said.

“People who have a mental illness and a forensic history are typically the most discriminated against in society.

“I'm looking forward to working with them, supporting them and rehabilitating them.

“By treating these people as normal human beings and actually giving a damn, you can really make a difference with them.”

With a background in mental health nursing and nursing administration, Ms Halsey was considered the perfect person to take on the job of nurse unit manager for forensic mental health.

As a mental health nurse, she has worked with patients at Bathurst jail and Long Bay hospital at the Long Bay Correctional Centre.

She has also been the after hours nurse unit manager at Bloomfield Hospital, a role which effectively requires her to oversee the running of the entire hospital of an evening.

In her new role, she will coordinate the care of the forensic unit's 20 patients and will oversee patient admissions and staff activities and reviews.

Ms Halsey described working in mental health as an opportunity to assist people who were experiencing trauma and disadvantage to come out the other side.

Much of the hospital's rehabilitation work will be focussed on education in areas such as literacy and numeracy, computers and hospitality and linking patients with employment services upon their release.

“There will also just be general day to day things like learning how to cook, being able to shop and budget, just being able to function in the community, because these people have often spent a lot of time out of circulation,” she said.

“All of these things will add to their success in the community.”

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