Introducing… a child and youth mental health nurse

Introducing… a child and youth mental health nurse

Mike Percival is a registered nurse with Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) child and youth mental health program. He works with patients who are admitted to McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH) and has been with HHS for two years.

What do you do?

I work with a strong team to provide care for youth with complex mental health concerns. We establish effective therapeutic relationships to assess the risk of patients and manage crisis situations.

What keeps you motivated at work?

My biggest motivation is definitely the support and encouragement I receive from the great group of individuals with whom I work at MCH. Teamwork is very important on the unit, as mental health can be a challenging environment.

Another motivating factor is the opportunity for personal growth and career development. Since I started working here, I have trained in the emergency mental health assessment unit and taken on leadership roles such as a charge nurse.

“Working with youth and adolescents in mental health was a natural extension of my experience working with vulnerable populations.”

What made you enter your field of work?

Prior to nursing, I was involved with research that included direct work with clients. I realized I enjoyed that interaction. Nursing felt like a great career path that also offered an opportunity to interact directly with clients.

Nursing also gives me the opportunity to use my research skills to enhance patient care. Working with youth and adolescents in mental health was a natural extension of my previous experience working with vulnerable populations. I worked with a non-profit community service that provided social and recreational activities for children with special needs.

What do you hope to accomplish while at HHS?

Given the increased recognition of the need for mental health services, I hope to make meaningful contributions to the field through research and innovation.

For example, our unit frequently observes the connection between substance use and mental health. We believe there are many opportunities to improve the care for clients who use substances. I also want to recruit, instruct and retain talented individuals to the field of pediatric mental health.