People in Private: Kathryn Turner

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When Kathryn Turner is not writing poetry you can find her helping patients at The Perth Clinic as the Nurse Manager in the Admissions Centre. Ms Turner recently wrote a poem called The Elephant in the Room for Mental Health Week 2017.

What do you love about your job and why?
I love my job because I get to help people every day, sometimes with minor things and sometimes with major life decisions.

Being the Nurse Manager in the Admissions Centre I liaise with emergency departments, psychiatrists, general practitioners and patients on a daily basis and being able to coordinate a patient’s first step on their path to recovery is important.

The role can be quite challenging at times but very rewarding. I’m also surrounded by amazing colleagues which makes a huge difference.

Why did you become a nurse?
I became a nurse after working for Social Services Mental Health Community Team in my home town in the UK. I became really interested in psychology and the complex issues certain clients portrayed and realised I had a gap in my knowledge, so I wanted to learn more so that I could understand and help people.

Do you have a favourite quote or phrase?
“Everything you can imagine is real” by Pablo Picasso.

What is something about you your colleagues don’t know?
Chris Rea, the singer who sang “Driving home for Christmas” and “On the beach” well his parents and my parents were good friends and Chris’ Dad Camillo gave me my first job as a waitress at the Captain Cook Museum in Middlesbrough.

I also played football (not soccer as people call it in Australia) for nine years for Middlesbrough Ladies Football Team.

How do your friends describe you?
I think my friends would describe me as “down to earth”, kind, someone who is always there, adventurous with a great sense of humour and probably a “pain in the backside” sometimes.

What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies?
In my spare time I love going to the gym, particularly body pump and spin. I’ve taken part in triathlons, half marathons and tough mudder competitions. I also enjoy kayaking, horse riding and sailing. During my quiet moments at home I write poetry and draw.

What is something you want to achieve this year?
This year I would like to focus on writing poetry and getting more poems published. I have an idea for a series of children’s books so really want to find a publisher who will work with me. I also want to write a book portraying more serious poems.

What made you start writing poetry?
I started writing poetry from a very early in age, in fact, the very first poem I wrote was at the age of five and it was called “The Volcano”. The teacher made me go around every class in the school and read it out to everyone. All I can remember was being acutely embarrassed and wanted the ground to swallow me up. It should have put me off poetry for life but I fell in love with words and words said in the right context can stay with you forever. My daughter, Natalie, is also an inspiration behind a lot of my work. She loves my poems and pushes me to write and keeps telling me that I have a talent that shouldn’t be wasted.

How did you find inspiration for your poem ‘The Elephant in the Room’?
I think the inspiration for “The Elephant in the Room” came from listening to people’s experiences with problems and how it made them feel. Not just mental health issues but physical ones too. We all experience an “elephant in the room” at some point in our lives and it’s hard to acknowledge that it’s there sometimes. Knowing that you are not alone in that experience helps.

Read Kathryn’s Elephant in the Room poem here.

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