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A Poem for Unicorn Ward

A support worker from Cygnet Hospital Sheffield’s Unicorn Ward has written a lovely poem which gives an honest and emotional insight into what it means to work on a CAMHS PICU.

Abigail McKie-Smith, who wrote the poem said, “The idea for the poem came from something I did back in 2016. I volunteered in Tanzania for 3 months and when I came home had to raise awareness as a global citizen for the program. I’d written and recorded a song for my home project and people loved it. I thought I could do something similar with my role at Cygnet as often people don’t understand what we do on a daily basis.

“It feels sometimes if you’re not in this area of work, there isn’t much simple reading about the job or what working in a mental health hospital entails. I thought I’d write something short about what I do so people can understand a little more. I actually wrote it laid in bed one night after a really rough few shifts, just as a bit of a release. Then actually, I really liked it so thought I would share it. I just thought it could capture a little piece of what we do at Cygnet and how support workers can make a difference.

“I come to work and do my job and sometimes we never realise how much impact we make! This role has provided me with unprecedented skills that I can now harness and build upon in my future and for that I will be forever grateful.”

Here is Abi’s poem in full:

Unicorn, unicorn, unicorn
What a magical place to be
There’s fun, there’s laughter, there’s many a challenge
But most of all there’s me

I help these kids like I would my own
Support them how they need
Build relationships and give advice
And help dress wounds when they bleed

My job is a lot about taking risk
And comfort in hard times
Reliving their trauma, through my eyes
But also boundaries too sometimes

You have to have care and empathy
At every second of the day
You give your whole self to these kids
Because there’s no other way

My job is to help them find a different path
And guide and steer them right
Know these kids better than themselves
Be objective and help them see their light

You have to be able to speak
Babble words they might not care
Make decisions in split seconds
And let them know you’re there

I take security to keep us all safe
Write incidents, read care plans and more
Get involved, be engaging and positive
My job is never a chore

There’s rewards at the end of every day
Sometimes large and sometimes small
I always go home smiling
And give everyday my all

I have to work within a team
Care about every staff member too
Be observant to finer detail
And know when to offer something new

You have to be non-judgemental
Be inclusive, holistic, confident as well
Even if it’s an off day
Because the kids depend on me, can you tell?

My job is challenging but simple
Talk to the kids and understand who they are
Manage risk, be honest and be their voice
If you can do all of this, with them you’ll go far

Remember what is a banned item
Remember who can have what
Remember everyone’s journey
And remember, importantly, not to lose the plot

My job is to keep calm and collected
Because my job isn’t about me
It’s about these kids struggles and lives
And help them to feel free

It’s bittersweet when they leave us
But gives some comfort when they go
In knowing that we’ve helped them on their journey
And have seen them blossom and change and grow

There’s so many emotions you go through
Every single bloody day
You have to emotionally aware
Until you hit the hay

My job might seem hard to you
But to me it’s the best thing I’ve achieved
There’s nothing better than helping others
And having a team like unicorn, it makes me feel relieved

Some days are overwhelming
And working in mental health is hard
But the rewards that you seek are amazing
And it is my responsibility to these children to shield them and from harm I guard

My job is like a flower
I learn new things every day
I give myself unto these children
But I’d have it no other way

I take time to be so mindful
And even on those days I have self doubt
I remember:
Even when the sun goes down, the stars, well they also come out.

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