Rob Mack, Locality Manager for Children, Families and Young People
Rob Mack, Locality Manager for Children, Families and Young People in Norfolk and Waveney, has spent the past 15 years working for NSFT – the first nine years as a nurse and since then in various management roles.
“The skills and values you learn as a nurse don’t leave you when you stop working clinically, and I use them in my everyday work as a manager.
“They influence how I communicate with people and the values that I developed as a nurse, such as compassion, humility and thoughtfulness, help me in my role as a manager. Working as a nurse makes you take an evidence-based approach to issues, which is the same approach I now take in management.
“Through my career, I have always seen how many challenges for people begin in their early lives and within their families. It is only in recent years while looking into this more the evidence shows that 75% of mental health difficulties begin by the age of 25.
“It was for this reason that it has always been my ambition to work with and for children and young people as I have absolute belief that this is where we can make the biggest impact on people’s lives. It is also some of the most emotionally challenging work I have ever been involved in.
“When I was growing up, nobody ever suggested to me a career in mental health and, in truth, I didn’t really know what mental health was. Children nowadays are far more aware of mental health.
“My first job was working in a boatyard for three years. However, I had family members who experienced mental health difficulties and while I was working in the boatyard, my older brother was qualifying as a mental health nurse, and these factors clearly influenced me.
“I do remember wanting to be a doctor when younger and, at one point, I was interested in general nursing but I opted for mental health. I did speak to friends about general nursing but got scared off by comments about it being too task focused and doctor-led and I thought I could have more influence as a mental health nurse.
“This often proved to be the case so that, for example, when I was a primary care link worker I felt that I could work autonomously to a large degree and could make a real difference.
“I’ve been so fortunate to also work in incredible teams of all professions. Even now, thinking back to my first role on Glaven acute ward at Hellesdon Hospital, we had a fantastic team and some brilliant, but hard, memories.
“A desire for greater responsibility and influence was what attracted me into management and it also gave me an opportunity to work with young people which I never had as a nurse.”