St Magnus Hospital

Training & Development

Training and development

What’s the secret behind our staff? Our outstanding Education Centre, providing in-house training so they can develop new skills and progress their careers. It means they stay with us for the long term. Patients and residents see familiar faces and staff have opportunities for promotion so they can be what they want to be.

We set up our unique Education Centre 20 years ago, first to educate overseas nurses then to develop skills in all departments, from ward staff to housekeeping and chefs. As well as compulsory modules we offer bespoke training in response to requests from our team. The Education Centre is dynamic and ambitious as heads of department bring in external experts, and trainees challenge our practice.

Training and development
Inspected and rated Good by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

St Magnus Hospital & St Magnus Nursing

Mandatory training on site

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  • Four-day Induction: all mandatory training for all disciplines, from moving and positioning to infection control, food hygiene, safeguarding, first aid and suicide awareness
  • Four-day NAPPI training: non-abusive, physical and psychological intervention, along with relational and physical security training.

Bespoke training on site

Examples include:

  • Diploma Level 2 and Level 3 courses
  • Psychodynamic drama therapy, with students mentored by our therapists
  • Conflict management training, requested by staff
  • “Expert by experience” training e.g. what it was like to be an inpatient
  • Quarterly training day for senior staff on a topic of their choice
  • Falls training with a week of competitions, quizzes, classes and interactive sessions.
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NCFE accreditation

We are accredited by national further education body NCFE to run the following courses:

NCFE CACHE Level 2 Diploma in Care

NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care

NCFE CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Falls Prevention Awareness

NCFE Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement

NCFE CACHE Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management in Adult Care

Stand-alone units:

Administer Medication to Individuals and Monitor the Effects

Undertake Agreed Pressure Area Care

The Principles of Infection Prevention and Control 

Level 3 Award in the Mental Capacity Act

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Staff reported high morale and were happy in their roles. We observed supportive and cohesive team working and the atmosphere appeared relaxed and encouraging …
They felt the management team were more of a family and nurtured and supported the staff to progress within their roles.

Care Quality Commission Report

Links with universities

Our passion for education means we support more staff through further education than other employers. We partner with Bournemouth, Southampton, Solent and Surrey universities who send us social work students, nursing students and paramedic students on placements. Universities’ annual audits highlight the gold standard we work to.

We send general nurses to Kingston University to undertake mental health conversion courses, have sponsored staff through the Trainee Nurse Associate route and have funded another team member’s occupational health degree. And if you have a great track record with us and an idea for a  Master’s degree in mental health that will benefit the St Magnus Community, you can ask us to sponsor you.

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What makes us different?

We are quick to respond, we pick up personal development requests in monthly supervisions and our independence means we can secure funding rapidly.

Success stories

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We supported two of our general nurses through mental health training so they became dual registered. They both now manage forensic wards, a significant achievement, and we are very proud of how we have melded two very different disciplines: care for the problems of ageing, and specific psychiatric care for conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar.

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One team member is relatively newly qualified but she has incredible skill and great knowledge. We took a chance on training her up to be a department lead where she is flourishing and our service is flourishing as a result. Few employers would have put their faith in her this way.

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We ask staff to take responsibility by becoming falls champions, infection control champions and moving-and-handling champions, for example. They become accountable for these areas, develop their leadership skills and cascade training down the wards.

Patient education

Patients and residents are learning, too.

Computer groups are part of rehabilitation/maintaining skills sessions run by our occupational therapists, while our activities team organise art, gardening and cooking groups.

Activities Cooking
Activities Computer

Mark Boulton

General Manager and Information Governance Lead

St Magnus

What were you doing before you came to St Magnus?
I was working in electronic engineering but struggling to find a passion for the role, so I applied for a job working as an activities coordinator with an English-based organisation running an activities centre for children with mental health and behaviour needs in France. Through this role I discovered my true passion – working in mental health. I came back to the UK in 2006, joined St Magnus as an activities coordinator then studied to become a Registered Mental Health Nurse.

What do you enjoy about your work here?
St Magnus has allowed me to pursue my vocation and flourish. The opportunities for career advancement are exceptional and I have been promoted through the ranks to become General Manager.

Every week is different. Investigation of incidents, chairing meetings, supporting with staffing, liaising with commissioners, arranging admissions, speaking with carers, supporting on the wards … one day I could be attending meetings with the CQC, the next on the wards helping with personal care.

What makes St Magnus different?
Outstanding care.

What is also important is that there is very little bureaucracy. If something needs to change, it is changed. This allows us to respond quickly to the needs of the service and the patients. We are caring and responsive.

How do you relax when you’re not at work?
Swimming, mountain biking, playing guitar, attending gigs and festivals.

Dr Patrick O'Sullivan MRCPsych

Medical Director

St Magnus Hospital and St Martha’s Hospital

What were you doing before you came to the St Magnus Community?
I trained to be a doctor at University College Cork in the Republic of Ireland, undertaking summer work as a nursing assistant at a hospital on Long Island, New York. Patients there with dementia syndromes interested me. It is an experience that continues to make me appreciate the excellent care that my care-assisting colleagues in the St Magnus Community provide day in, day out.

I became particularly interested in the brain, both from a psychiatric mental illness point of view, and in conditions affecting the brain and nervous systems, such as stroke and seizure disorders. As part of my post-qualification basic medical training I worked in a neurology service for a year and also covered care of patients admitted out of hours to an acute older persons’ hospital ward. These excellent experiences in the clinical presentations of older patients keep me in good stead.

I trained as a psychiatrist in Dublin then once I become a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1998, I moved to London for higher specialist training in both Old Age Psychiatry and General Adult Psychiatry. I investigated the mental health problems faced by people appearing before magistrates’ courts, and my research paper on older mentally disordered offenders subject to restriction orders was published in the Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology.

I next undertook higher specialist training to be a forensic psychiatrist. Most rewarding was working collaboratively with patients with severe mental illness finding themselves before the criminal justice system because of their illnesses. I collaborated with multidisciplinary teams in both community and medium secure hospitals in North and East London, and gained valuable experience in placements at Broadmoor High Secure Hospital.

From 2006 until 2011 I worked as an NHS Consultant in Forensic Psychiatry at a medium secure service in Wickford, Essex. During early 2011 I attended an Old Age Psychiatry conference where I met a colleague with whom I trained in Dublin 12 years previously. Coincidentally, he provided out-of-hours medical cover for the then newly opened St Magnus Hospital. By best fortune, I also met Jo Randall from St Magnus, now our CEO, at the conference. This led to my appointment as Medical Director to St Magnus Hospital in October 2011.

What do you enjoy about your work here?
I learn continuously from patients, their carers and from my colleagues. There is never a dull moment here at the St Magnus Community! The most valuable thing I have learned is that to provide excellent care you must get the basics in each area of operation absolutely spot-on. From keeping the hospitals and grounds clean and tidy, to laundry services and catering, right through to the careful and comprehensive clinical and medical assessments of our patients. All these complex moving parts are important in enabling our patients to participate to the best of their abilities with their individual care plans. It is how we make sure that individual patients’ needs remain the focus of our care.

In a typical week I ensure that the medical input into the organisation is running tip-top 24/7. I chair meetings of the Executive Management Team and Clinical Governance meetings; I also chair weekly medical staff meetings. I supervise the associate medical director and support the other clinical directors across our two hospitals. I liaise with colleagues from all disciplines as well as with colleagues from Clinical Governance. I support the senior management team with medical advice as part of our organisational responses to queries from commissioners and regulators.

What makes St Magnus different?
There is both great generosity of spirit and a spirit of purpose amongst colleagues working here. I think the focus of providing the best care we can to our patients, and our working collaboratively with our patients and their carers, is keener here than in previous healthcare settings where I worked. I would sum us up as “happy, collaborative and kind”.

I am enormously proud of my role in building an excellent medical team across both hospitals. Our hospital consultants and our associate specialist psychiatrists each have exceptional depths to their levels of experience, skills and expertise in managing the range of mental disorders with which our patients present. I am also proud of my part in fostering the excellent relationships between members of the multidisciplinary teams at the hospitals to say nothing of the first-class working relationship across the senior management team!

How do you relax when you’re not at work?
I cook, hike, and cycle; but not all at the same time!

Laura Davey

Teaching Assistant

St Magnus and St Martha’s

What were you doing before you came to the St Magnus Community?
I worked in retail for 25 years, the last 15 in management. I delivered training for Boots Opticians and was also a charity coordinator, where a highlight was the launch of a children’s book called Zookeeper Zoe. It contained vision checks throughout and I was lucky enough to attend a gala evening with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (author and illustrator of The Gruffalo), who drew and signed a picture for my granddaughter!

What do you enjoy about your work here?
I’ve worked for the St Magnus Community for two years and I am hugely proud of the achievements and advancements I have made. I have achieved my NAPPI training (to positively support people in distress), my Level 2 Diploma and I am working towards my Level 3. I’ve also completed Train the Trainer courses for security, NAPPI and first aid. I found the psychological modules of NAPPI training very powerful, particularly how the Positive Behaviour Scale can be used to prevent distress.

What makes the St Magnus Community different?
The sense of achievement we get from patient-oriented care. Also, I have a sense of autonomy although I am working within guidelines. Many other things make the St Magnus Community different to other places I’ve worked, including the level of education available to all staff and seeing higher management actively involved on the wards.

Sally Mugumira

Occupational Therapist Department Lead

St Magnus Hospital

What were you doing before you came to St Magnus?
I’ve completed a telecommunication diploma, a foundation degree and graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Occupational Therapy from Northampton University. I’ve worked with individuals in community stroke, assisting them to live as safely and independently as possible in their own home using a holistic approach. I’ve also worked in dementia services, learning disabilities, physical therapy and with young adults with mental health disorders. I’ve been at St Magnus since 2022.

What do you enjoy about your work here?
Everything, my job is amazing! I’m helping patients who have difficulties carrying out day-to-day activities because of a disability, illness, trauma, ageing or a range of long-term conditions. We identify their strengths and any difficulties they may have in everyday life, and we find ways to adapt (making use of assistive devices and equipment) or focus on improving their ability to perform activities of daily living. We explore meaningful therapeutic activities tailored to each individual.

What makes St Magnus different?
I’m making a difference every day. We strive for excellence and a patient-centred approach: the goal is to meet the needs of all patients, no matter how different their values and interests are. The support we get at St Magnus is also different from anywhere else I have worked. The company values us as individuals and values our profession in terms of respect and professional support. All the staff are supportive and friendly, which makes a big difference, especially when working in a forensic hospital. It’s a place of opportunities.

How do you relax when you’re not at work?
I relax by watching movies, gardening and dancing. Going to church is also important.

Steph McClean

Dramatherapist

St Magnus Community

What were you doing before you came to the St Magnus Community?
My first degree was in Music and Drama and I trained as an opera singer at the Royal Academy of Music. I then trained in therapy and took a Masters degree in Dramatherapy, combining my experience in mental health and skills in creative arts. I’ve worked in NHS mental health services, in a community drug and alcohol service, in a unit for people with learning disabilities, with a London secondary school and at a hospice. My career has been very varied!

What do you enjoy about your work here?
I’ve been working at both St Magnus and St Martha’s since 2019. As a dramatherapist I’m a specially trained psychotherapist offering people a creative way of expressing themselves. I work with their thoughts and feelings to deal with what may have happened or be happening in their life. They may have communication challenges, have experienced trauma or have a high level of emotional need. I facilitate Schwartz Rounds that offer staff the space to think, connect, support and value themselves and their colleagues, and I’ve facilitated carers groups. I work closely with our teams to provide continuity of care for every patient and I tailor every session to the individual. I like that no day is ever the same.

What makes the St Magnus Community different?
The teams I work with. I value the input I get from all the professionals I work with who are very supportive of me, particularly my manager and the clinicians I work closely with. I feel very fortunate to work with such great colleagues who are always willing to work collaboratively and go above and beyond for our patients. I’ve also learnt so much more about the nature of dementia and how it can affect people both physically and mentally. Much of this learning has come from our fantastic nursing teams who have wide experience of patients who have complex needs and require specialist care. I can help all our patients work through challenges to make real and lasting changes, seeing themselves as a whole person and not just as a patient, an offender or someone with a diagnosis.

How do you relax when you’re not at work?
Swimming, particularly wild swimming all year round.

Laxmi Gurung

Ward Manager

Sycamore Ward, a nine-bed male ward in the Low Secure Unit at St Magnus Hospital

What were you doing before you came to St Magnus?
I joined St Magnus in 2014 as a newly registered mental health nurse. Prior to that I spent three months volunteering in Nigeria after graduating from university, taking part in events to raise awareness of pertinent issues such as mental illness and the stigma associated with it.

What do you enjoy about your work here?
In a typical week, I can go from meeting commissioners, attending patient and staff meetings, managing risk and planning future care to day-to-day nursing care. As well as managing the ward and my team of 15 staff I am also a Schwartz Round facilitator, helping colleagues reflect on their roles and feel supported in their jobs. One thing I like the most about working here is the people I work with. I feel fortunate to work with such a wide mix of staff from different backgrounds, experiences and expertise.

What makes St Magnus different?
There is always something to learn from someone and there is a great sense of teamwork, sense of responsibility and support for one another. The camaraderie is unmatched, and we can always laugh and rally together even in challenging times.

How do you relax when you’re not at work?
Our days are long and challenging so in my spare time I try and de-stress by going to the gym, walking and spending time with family, friends and my dog.

Cathy Tang

Occupational Therapist Assistant

St Magnus Hospital

What were you doing before you came to St Magnus?
I trained as a clinical mental health counsellor in the United States. I’ve provided individual and group clinical psychotherapy, I’ve run career coaching and functional and social skills groups, and I’ve worked with clients with disabilities including physical, mental and learning disabilities. I also enjoyed volunteering work in different countries where I found mental health is often overlooked and stigmatised.

What do you enjoy about your work here?
My volunteering inspired me to dedicate my career to mental health – to use creative medium and activities to explore possibilities and reach the true potential of the unique being. This is what I’ve been doing at St Magnus Hospital since I joined the team in 2022.

What makes St Magnus different?
I have been given fantastic support as I prepare to advance my career: I’m about to embark on an Occupational Therapy degree funded by the company at considerable investment because I am an overseas student. I’m so proud of the person-centred, holistic teamwork we have here, and it is very rewarding to see patients’ progress: being able to adapt to their daily living and connect with the community while finding joy in the process.

How do you relax when you’re not at work?
Painting, playing musical instruments, indoor gardening or hiking.