A Day in the life of a Mental Health Lecturer

Image alt text

Ruairi Mulhern

Mental Health Lecturer at Middlesex University 


My work day starts around 9 am


On a typical day

I remind myself how untypical life at University is. It’s more akin to life as a farmer than life as a nurse. I follow the seasons and some seasons are busier than others.

The best thing about my role is…

…the teaching. It’s also frightening when you realise how much influence you can have on the attitudes of another.


I’m still answering emails and promising not to get caught in the trap of answering emails all day. I’m on a loop.

I’ve been in my current role…

As a full time lecturer just over a year.

My proudest achievement is…

Yet to come.

What changes have you helped work on to improve the service for patients, staff, students?

Supporting the union to protect staff jobs. Without a well-trained and respected workforce, everyone suffers.


See mid-morning.


I’m often heard saying…

What does this mean?  How do you do this?

What inspires me is…

The thought that some of these student nurses could be looking after me soon so best make sure they know what way up is

The hardest part of my job is…


The best part of my job is…

When I reference the great Ashanti Kingdom, Fela Kuti, Ken Saro-Wiwa or Huda Shaarawi etc into class discussions.

What qualifications or experience do you need to do your role?

I was a regular Nurse plodding along when the opportunity came up around 2009 to train as a Best Interests Assessor under the Capacity Legislation.  This led a few years later to doing my A.M.H.P. training; a great 3 months free to concentrate on just one aspect of the mental health professional role. Several years later the University advertised for a Nurse with Mental Health Law experience to do a ‘joint working post’.  I went for it and worked 3 days a week at University and two in my job as a band 6 in the Islington Assessment & Advice team (within Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust).

I was encouraged by the boss of the School of Mental Health, (Professor Carmel Clancy), to do a post-graduate teaching qualification and later decided to switch to become a full-time Mental Health Lecturer.  In terms of experience to be a lecturer, you need to know everything about mental health nursing…or close to it!
It helps to have experience across a range of different areas within mental health care.


See lunch.


What’s the best thing you’ve learned in your role on the job?

Students are open and ready to learn so you need to be clear and accurate with your information.

What does bite sized learning mean to you?

Sample, enjoy, repeat.

What tips do you have for anyone wanting to join your profession?

You’re smart enough to make your own mind up.

How are you compassionate to yourself or colleagues?

I don’t copy them into emails needlessly.

Before I leave work 

I promise not to get stuck answering emails tomorrow.

Vespa icon

After work

I enjoy riding my Vespa PX home

R Mulhern quote

If you could travel back in time what work tip would you give to your younger self?

Whenever you write about a patient or service user always imagine them standing at your shoulder reading it. Be honest and fair and say something nice.

A day in the life… 
Interview with Fiona Cameron  @Cameron_Fiona
Digital Communications Manager, My Care Academy.
Read more of Fiona’s blogs on this site here
Or read more career interviews here 

Designed and developed by The MTM Agency