Mature Student Emma Williams makes a career change

She had long been drawn to the idea of nursing and decided to enrol in a fast-track PgDip Children's Nursing course at LSBU.

Changing lanes

Emma graduated first time round in 1999 from the University of Sussex with a 2:1 in Psychology. Her original aim was to be a clinical psychologist, but she became involved with the Student Union magazine and became a music editor. After gaining work experience at BBC Radio 1 and graduating, she was offered an internship at MTV UK in London which developed into a career. However, twelve years later, her original yearning to go into healthcare returned.

"It was a difficult decision. I am a single mum to a 4-year-old daughter, but I decided to leave my TV career and retrain. When I was sitting in bed recently at 9pm revising for my biology exams and an ex-colleague of mine was on stage at the BAFTAs getting an award, I did think I could have chosen an easier path for myself! But I haven't looked back and can honestly say this is the best thing I have done professionally."

World-class and inspirational

After volunteering at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Emma noticed LSBU nursing students trained there. It was the relationships LSBU has with hospitals like GOSH across London that led Emma to apply for the University. 

They are world-class and utterly inspirational places to train and work in. All my acute ward placements are at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, and I am so proud of being part of the amazing work that is done there.

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In the classroom, Emma has found the return to studying smooth: "I've really enjoyed studying again. A lot of our teachers are nurses themselves and it's great to have their wealth of experience to hand, and my personal tutor is very supportive. I wasn't sure what to expect, coming back to university as a mature student, but it's been a lot less scary than I imagined." 

Making a difference

"The PgDip course is very intense as you do the same amount of placement hours as the three-year course, only in a shorter amount of time. We were out on our first placement within the first two months of the course, and I think that was a sink or swim moment for me. I remember my first day on the ward and thinking to myself, 'I can't do this.' But as I gained confidence in my own abilities, nursing started to feel like second nature and by the end of my first placement, I had learnt and done so much. Seeing your own personal development through work like this is a phenomenal experience."

Some of the most rewarding experiences for Emma during the course have been the feedback she's received from her placements. "One patient's mum wrote the loveliest feedback in my portfolio and it really did make me a bit emotional! I have given up so much to be here and when you are told you are doing a good job, it just further confirms that you've done the right thing."

Nursing is so versatile and you have the opportunity to work in so many different areas. I can't think of many careers where the options are so vast. It is very hard work, you do very long hours and of course it can be extremely emotive. But it's such an amazing feeling to come home at the end of the day, remembering the look on a patient's face when you made them smile and think, 'I made a difference today.'


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