A passion for teaching and practicing mental health nursing: Meet Jillian Reid

Thursday 5 August

Credentialed Mental Health Nurses (CMHNs) are specialist nurses, recognised for their skills, expertise, and experience through the College’s Credential. In this special series, we hear from CMHNs about their love for the profession, and the benefits of being credentialed.

This time, ACMHN Chair of the Education and Accreditation Committee and South West TAFE lecturer Jillian Reid talks about finding her calling as a mental health nurse, her passion for teaching, and why the Credential is key to getting mental health nurses the recognition they deserve.

Why did you choose to become a mental health nurse and how long have you been working in the profession?

I did my Bachelor of Nursing at Deakin University between 1991 and 1994. When I did the mental health unit and clinical placement, it was like a light bulb went off and I knew this was for me. In 1995 I did a graduate year in Rockhampton and was able to work in their mental health unit for a significant period of time. With the support and encouragement of the ward staff I applied for, and was accepted, into the psychiatric nursing endorsement program at Wolston Park. Since that time the majority of my nursing career has been working in the mental health sector.

What is your current role and what do you enjoy most about it?

Another of my passions has been teaching nursing students and I am currently teaching the Diploma of Nursing at South West TAFE in South West Victoria. To be able to travel the learning journey with nursing students as they move through the Diploma is wonderful.I am very passionate about our present nurses and those of the future, so being part of their education journey is a joy for me.

How did getting credentialed help you in your career?

Being a Credentialed Mental Health Nurse is extremely important to me. I was working at Barwon Health in Geelong in 2003 when a representative from ACMHN visited explaining what it meant to be a member and to consider becoming credentialed. To be recognised as a mental health nurse and to have a professional body that supported the mental health nursing concept was significant to me. Mental health nurses deserve to be recognised and respected for who they are, the qualifications they have, their influence in the mental health sector, and to have a professional body that supports that. This is where the ACMHN fits in and why I became a credentialed member.

What advice would you give to MHNs who are considering getting credentialed? What should they keep in mind?

I would highly recommend mental health nurses becoming credentialed. Yes, it can seem a huge process and yes, people may wonder what is in it for them or why they should bother. Well, all I can say is be proud of who you are, what you do, and get credentialed. Other disciplines that work in the mental health sector have embraced their professional recognition, and so should mental health nurses.  

Jillian completed her Bachelor of Nursing in 1994 and followed her passion to work in the mental health sector by completing the Psychiatric Nursing Course at Wolston Park Hospital in 1997. Jill has been able to work as a general nurse, mental health nurse, plus drug and alcohol nurse throughout Australia and in the United Kingdom during her nursing career. Jill is now employed at South West TAFE in a permanent role and teaches multiple units of the Diploma of Nursing. Jill is a mental health first aid facilitator and has been so since 2009.

Jillian Reid


Credentialed Mental Health Nurse, mental health nurse educator, mental health nurse teacher, mental health nursing

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