Matt Lazard, BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing, LSBU alumni
Matt is a perfect example of the benefits a supportive educational environment can bring
Unsure about whether BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing was for him when looking at what degree to choose, he initially considered studying Psychology. However, he was swayed coming along to an LSBU open day and speaking to our staff. "They were really lovely and explained everything in detail and I thought why not give it a chance."
"When I got to going out on placements, meeting other people and meeting the lecturers, the lecturers were fantastic and the support that you get; really that's what I most enjoyed."
Before he started the course, Matt was a little short of confidence. Now he is full of self-belief, has completed the degree and has a job in mental health nursing. "The course matured me a lot. The skills I acquired throughout the course has changed how I look at life and how I approach life now."
Matt has plenty of praise for a range of lecturers when talking about those who helped him through the course. "Tom Courage has been a major influence and his down to earth approach was a big factor in me succeeding. Also Lloyd Cast, Jenny Rooks, and Jenny Penton are really great and Fidan Gnu as well helped put me on the straight and narrow."
Building a future
A lot happened in Matt's life while studying. As well as transforming his confidence and self-belief, he now has a baby boy. "Somehow the lecturers found out and they supported me. They said you can do this Matt and gave me enthusiasm to finish the degree." Not that Matt was going to drop out. Getting a degree and having the foundation to support his family for the rest of his life and build a future was something he was determined to succeed at.
Like most mental health nursing students after graduating, Matt found he was in demand with employers, with several offers to choose from. In the end he decided to stay with the trust he was placed at during his degree – the North East London Foundation Trust, and currently works at Maysbury Court in Chingford. "Like I say, working in the field is fantastic. It's hard on the other side of the coin from being a student to being an actual mental health nurse, it's 100 miles an hour but I love it. It's the best thing I've ever done, so I'm happy."
Mental Health Nursing may not be for everyone, but Matt exemplifies the personal fulfilment you can get from the career. "If you've got the enthusiasm for it for people, working with people and wanting to learn then go for it, I'd say definitely do it."