It took Andy Madel many years to find his true vocation in life but after 10 years as a learning disability nurse, there is no looking back.
Andy, who will be 50 this summer, is a staff nurse in our adult learning disability assessment and treatment unit in Walker Close, Ipswich, which consists of two wards for adults.
Although he still does pool shifts for the Trust's adult mental health wards, he sees his future very firmly with our learning disability service.
Andy said: "My first experience of someone with a learning disability was as a teenager playing football in the road with a boy who had Down's syndrome
"I first started to care for people with LD when I was working in the private sector as a community support worker on an independent living project.
"I soon realised that I wanted to join the NHS and successfully applied for a healthcare assistant post at Walker Close in 2003, qualified as a RNLD [Registered Nurse Learning Disabilities] in 2009 after three years and I've been at Walker Close ever since.
"I thoroughly enjoy working with people with learning disabilities and, as with all branches of nursing, I find it very rewarding to help people get through difficult times and contribute to their recovery and often an improvement to their quality of life. There's an altruistic sense with nursing that you're doing something worthwhile.
"People are admitted to the ward because they are unwell, primarily with mental health or behavioural issues, and when they are improving we often help them to learn new skills, enjoy life again and become more independent."
Looking ahead, Andy is focused on contributing to the ongoing development of the inpatient service at Walker Close and the further integration of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), where active support of the person combines with an understanding of their behaviour as a form of communication to develop an environment and approach that helps them more effectively.
To read more about Learning Disability Nursing, click here.