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The lecturers were great and there were many opportunities such as attending conferences.
Learning Disability Nursing student

Despite my mum being a Learning Disability Nurse and growing up around individuals with a learning disability, it never crossed my mind that I would want to become a nurse. I knew I always wanted to care for people or make people happy but I was very much into art and sports. I never excelled in school academically so the idea of going to university never crossed my mind. I decided to apply for the Health and Social Care diploma at college and even on the course I still never thought of becoming a nurse. During my time at college I gained employment in a residential home, which I loved, I always remember a resident saying to me ‘you’re going to make a good nurse one day because you care’ and I will always remember that.

The idea of studying to become a Learning Disability Nurse didn’t cross my mind until the last minute when applying for university, and I saw that the University of Chester had places on their BN (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing course. I attended an Open Day and just fell in love with Chester and the University. For me, coming from a small town in Wales, Chester was perfect for me. I liked the idea that Chester is a city but not too big that I would be overwhelmed, I also loved the fact that my lectures would all be in one place.

The lecturers were great and there were many opportunities such as attending conferences. I was also able to become a part of the Student Quality Ambassadors project (SQA) and set up PowWow with my peers that led us to be shortlisted for a Student Nursing Times Award and RCNi Nurse Award. I was thrilled to receive the Valedictory Award for the faculty of Health and Social Care special recognition but, ultimately, the proudest moment was when I gained my BN (Hons) Learning Disability Nursing degree.

Since qualifying in September 2016, I gained employment as a clinical nurse in brain injury rehabilitation, in which I look after individuals with complex physical and mental health needs. I was there for just over two years and the job role was very diverse. I worked with adult field registered nurses, the knowledge they were able to pass on to me but also what knowledge they gained from me was great, it allowed us to work together and look at patient care from different perspectives. I was able to gain additional skills in tracheostomy care, enteral feeding, catheter care, venepuncture and immediate life support all while still being able to build on my skills and knowledge I learnt from University.

I am now currently working in an Assessment and Treatment unit for individuals with a learning disability. It was nice for me as I went to my current workplace as a student nurse on placement, so to be able to go back over 4 years later, as a qualified nurse and see the same staff has allowed me to become a part of the team.

Whilst working, I have also come back to the University of Chester to do my Masters in Professional Studies part time, which has been great. I’ve also been lucky enough to come back to the University as a visiting lecturer, teaching on the pre-registration nursing programme.

Coming to Chester means a lot for me as I have found my own path and living here after university and building my career here has been great, I wouldn’t want it any other way.