June 28, 2023

Meet Huggins Mhlanga, Nurse Unit Manager – Broadmeadows Aged Persons Mental Health Unit.

This is a significant time to be working in the mental health sector, as we declare our commitment to the ambitious reform agenda, set out by the Mental Health Royal Commission.

Next week, we welcome the Broadmeadows Aged Persons Mental Health Unit (BAPMHU) and the new Specialist Older Adults Consultation Service (SOACS). This is the final transition of services, as recommended by The Royal Commission, into Mental Health.

Today, we speak to Huggins Mhlanga, Nurse Unit Manager – Broadmeadows Aged Persons Mental Health Unit.

Let’s start with your coffee order?

Extra hot latte – no sugar.

Tell us about your role and what it entails?

I’m the Nurse Unit Manager at Broadmeadows Aged Persons Mental Health Unit. I’m responsible for the overall operational management of the unit. This includes supporting our multidisciplinary team to deliver effective and efficient care to our service users, their families and other stakeholders. In collaboration with key strategic partnerships both internally and externally, the role is also responsible for ensuring that our service has the necessary resources required to enable quality service delivery to our communities.

Tell us what you were doing prior to this role?

I have worked in mental health nursing since 2000, both here in Australia and the UK. Most of my career I have worked in various clinical settings in adult mental health services both in inpatient units and community services.

Prior to this role, I worked in the community residential recovery programs at North West Area Mental Health Community Care Unit (NWCCU) and North West Area Mental Health Prevention and Recovery Care Service (PARC). I held a few clinical leadership roles during this time including the Secure Extended Care (SECU) liaison role for Northwestern Mental Health before joining the team at Broadmeadows Hospital Older Adults Mental Health Unit in 2018.

What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no typical day on an inpatient mental health unit. However, my day usually starts with meetings relating to bed management including clinical handover, to name a few. The rest of the time is spent supporting the team as required to manage the daily demands of the unit, including engaging with our service users, their families and other stakeholders.

What excites you about your role?

The passion, collaboration and commitment of our clinical team to deliver quality care in spite of the ever-changing nature of healthcare service delivery.

What are some of the challenges of this role?

Too many to mention but there are always opportunities, despite these challenges, to improve the way we do things.

Lastly, what would people be most surprised to know about you?

I’m not an AFL fanatic, however, when I’m asked which footy team I support, I always say St. Kilda. When I arrived in Australia, I was told that every Victorian was “required” to pick an AFL team to support, and when I did my assessment, they were the only team that wore the same colours as my beloved Manchester United.