Handover | Issue 34 – April 2016

This story began with an invitation from Sarah Haldane, nurse educator at Waikato DHB to meet a clinical nurse specialist. An invitation endorsed by the nurse director Carole Kennedy, that clearly signalled that this nurse is valued and respected.

“I just wanted to raise the profile of our fabulous clinical nurse specialist Mandy Shanley… She arranged this health promotion event for our service users. It was a wonderful event… In addition, she has been working tirelessly supporting service users and staff to quit smoking over the last few months and she inspires nurses and other allied health professionals to work alongside with her in this work. She is one of our stars... Kind regards Sarah Haldane…”

“Mandy had been a driving force down at London Street. Not only is she the only clinical nurse specialist we have at London Street but she leads by example. I think it would be wonderful for Mandy to share your passion with others… Regards Carole Kennedy, Nurse Director…”

Mandy’s response gives you a glimpse into her attributes “Thank you all so much for your lovely comments, I feel very humbled. I have not done all of this on my own and have had lots of support…”

The event Sarah referred to was the Equally Well Day ‘Treat yourself for Christmas – Look after your health’ held in an urban mental health service base, London Street, Hamilton in December. Mandy worked alongside many others to create an event where people could talk and think about holistic health within the mental health services. Promoting simple things people can do to improve their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Balloons, music, information stalls and activities filled the day that was attended by over 70 people.

The Equally Well event was one of Mandy’s objectives following her appointment to the position of clinical nurse specialist in March 2015. She was a bit hesitant to apply for this role, as her career path had taken her into the specialist area of supporting people with eating disorders. However soon after her appointment she quickly realised that her knowledge and skills were easily transferable. She now relishes opportunities to work alongside other nurses while also supporting a small group of service users. Having a very supportive manager in Nicola Livingstone who has a social work background, is key to her developing the confidence to create change, says Mandy.

Career path

How does a UK trained enrolled nurse become a NZ urban sector clinical nurse specialist and a strong advocate for Equally Well?

During the 1980s Mandy spent the first decade of her nursing career as an enrolled nurse (EN) which included time in UK accident and emergency settings and in the Royal Airforce with postings in Germany. Mandy recalls taking time to talk with a person who had taken an overdose and being told off by a senior nurse who told her not to be nice as it might encourage it to happen again! This incident led her to seriously start thinking about what other areas of nursing she would like to work in.

She then trained to become a registered mental health nurse (RMN) in the early 1990s, in Wales. As a RMN Mandy, worked with older people in services in Wales and in the Channel Islands. In the late 1990s she took up a position in New Zealand at Pathways and after the birth of her son returned to the UK and worked in community and crisis teams.

During the mid-2000s Mandy began specialising in supporting people with eating disorders and was instrumental in setting up a service NAViGO- Rharian Fields specialist eating disorder services. She helped to develop and manage community, inpatient, home treatment and a day patient service. This brand new service won the Innovation award from the North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus.

Around 2012, Mandy and her family returned to New Zealand and she gained a role as a specialist eating disorder clinician based in Hamilton.

Mandy strongly believes in holistic health and during the course of her career she has developed skills in cognitive behavioural therapy, emotional freedom techniques, motivational interviewing, mindfulness and family based therapy for eating disorders. She completed further training at the Maudsley Hospital.

She does not describe herself as an academic but is very proud of successfully completing a postgraduate certificate through the Skills Matter clinical leadership programme, given she left school with only one O level. Over the coming year Mandy plans to continue with postgraduate studies while carefully balancing family life. Heading towards a nurse practitioner role is an aspirational goal but in the meantime her dream would be to run a wellness clinic. Her next goal is to hold another Equally Well day on 31 May which is the World Smokefree Day.

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