Admiral Nurse Mark shares how he is teaching hospital colleagues more about the effects of dementia, so they can provide better support to their patients with the condition.
How did you get into dementia care?
Since qualifying as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in 2003, I have practised clinically in the care of older people within mental health services. Dementia care has been a core component of my various acute, community and clinic nursing roles in both the NHS and charity sector.
In 2017, I decided to focus on becoming a specialist dementia nurse. I joined Dementia UK in 2017 as Community Lead Admiral Nurse in Newcastle Upon Tyne. I have since worked on the Helpline and in clinics. I enjoy supporting people with dementia and their families – I want to make a difference to their lives.
I am passionate about ensuring people of all ages who are affected by dementia receive the appropriate care and support when they need it. Admiral Nursing and Dementia UK have provided me with the opportunity to enhance and develop my specialist skills, knowledge and experience in dementia care.
Why do we need a Consultant Admiral Nurse for Sport and Dementia?
Dementia is a complex and progressive condition. People living with dementia who have a background in sport at either amateur or professional level can experience a wide range of symptoms, including cognitive, psychological, emotional and behaviour changes.
With the increase in prevalence of neurodegenerative disease like dementia in sport, more families need specialist support. As Consultant Admiral Nurse for Sport and Dementia I can offer my expert skills and knowledge in helping people with the diagnosis and their families face the challenges of dementia more positively.
What does your role involve?
In my role as Consultant Admiral Nurse for Sport and Dementia, I provide specialist online and telephone support to families affected by dementia where there is a relationship to sport.
I act as a resource for all Admiral Nurses, offering my expert clinical guidance, knowledge and support on sport and dementia to enhance their knowledge and awareness. I will be delivering training and learning to the Admiral Nurse community on a range of topics linked to sport and dementia to promote best practice.
I will be developing and facilitating links between research and practice; and creating new resources and learning on the emerging area of sport and dementia. I also aim to contribute to research and support clinical guidance, strategy and policy for families affected by the complexities of neurodegenerative diseases.
My role involves being an ambassador for Dementia UK through collaborating and networking across a range of services and organisations. This will involve building relationships, creating opportunities for partnerships, and offering clinical consultancy to diverse types of organisations on dementia.
What do you love most about your job?
This exciting and innovative senior clinical role at Dementia UK gives me the chance to bring together my passion for all types of sport and my specialist dementia skills and experience as an Admiral Nurse.
I am a big fan of sports and have coached football, rugby and cricket. I am Irish, and my favourite sports are hurling and Gaelic football. I have played both sports in my native home of County Clare in West of Ireland. It’s great to combine my passions with work.
I am excited by my new role as Consultant Admiral Nurse for Sport and Dementia. It is a varied role that offers opportunities to work with families; collaborate with organisations; contribute to research; participate in service development; and contribute to the learning and development of Admiral Nursing.
I am very much looking forward to working strategically with a range of Dementia UK services and external organisations to help make the role the success it deserves to be.
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