Ellie talks us through her journey to becoming a student Nurse and tells us about the lessons it taught her in finding her purpose.
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When I was younger, I never thought in my wildest dreams that would I have been starting my Nurse training at the age of 22.
Which is classed as a mature student, as I did not apply for university straight from college, I took a few years out.
Personally, I have always been caring and wanted to make sure everyone around me was healthy and happy.
At 16, I started college and studied Law and English literature.
I was convinced that law was the profession for me, but after a few months in college, I realised that I had no interest in the subjects and couldn’t put my full heart and soul into the work.
I started skipping lessons, and eventually dropped out and gave up my position within the subjects.
I then decided to get a full-time job within a holiday home agency. I didn’t really have a plan at this age, I just assumed I would figure out what I wanted to do eventually.
This is exactly what had happened and a few years later, when I was 17/18, I found myself moving to Cardiff.
This is where I got a job within the government’s health and disability assessments, while I figured out where I was going to go with my life.
This job cemented how I did not want to sit at an office desk for the rest of my life, with no career progression and the constant feeling of not positively impacting other people’s lives.
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I have always suffered with my mental health, but during this period of my life, it was worse than ever.
I was finding it extremely difficult to find a purpose amongst the depression and anxiety that had taken over me.
I had uncontrollable suicidal thoughts and had no one to turn to for help.
It felt like I was trapped in this endless black void, and I was petrified.
I quickly realised that there was so little support for young people surrounding their mental health.
To me, it was so scary to think of people in less fortunate positions than me, experiencing these illnesses with nowhere to turn.
I was determined not to let this take over me, and I sought help from my GP practice and other health care professionals, who referred me to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), prescribed me medications (which I still take to this day) and diagnosed me with various depressive and anxiety disorders.
When I felt more settled within myself, and more optimistic about the future, out of nowhere I suddenly knew exactly what my purpose in life was.
I realised it was to help other young people who were suffering from their mental health.
I want to offer that support and be that person, that I did not have, and I really wanted to raise awareness and end all the stigma surrounding mental health.
I want to be that person who young people experiencing these issues, seek to feel safe, wanted and understood.
I am unsure where I would be if I was not offered support from health care professionals, and I knew how lucky I was to of even been offered this.
As many individuals are not.
It was evident that there has to be a change within the system, and I want to be a part of that change.
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A New Journey
This motivation gave me the confidence to start my access to nursing course and apply for a place within the 2021 paediatric nursing cohort.
The access course provided me with so many skills and expanded my knowledge greatly surrounding all aspects of nursing.
I passed with 33 Distinctions, 9 Merits, 3 Passes (128 UCAS Points) which I was so proud of, as I never in a million years thought I could get the grades for university.
I then applied for three universities, I was offered a place in the University of the West of England (UWE) for the September 2021 start, and the University of South Wales (USW) for the January 2022 start.
I was so thankful for these offers and wanted to get stuck straight in, so I accepted the place in UWE.
Since starting in UWE, I have met some amazing like-minded peers, who continue to motivate me every step of the way.
My academic personal tutor is so lovely and goes above and beyond for all her students.
Most importantly I have learnt so much already and have one week left of my first 8-week placement with the Health Visiting team in Bristol.
I have come to understand that, it is SO normal to feel out of your depth, and as if you aren’t ‘intelligent’ enough to be in the course.
But you must remember that everyone feels like that, and you and your cohort are all learning together at the exact same pace.
Along with this, nursing is a career where you can constantly experience personal and professional development.
There are also so many avenues a Nurse is able to take, which makes nursing an incredibly unique career.
Due to this, every Nurse has a completely unique career.
I am now a few months away from starting 2nd year, and I know I have made friends for life during this course.
I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity in life and for the nursing profession, as it is very diverse and welcoming for every person no matter their life experience, culture, background, or beliefs.
If anyone else is seeking a purposeful career, I could not recommend anything more than nursing.
No matter how old you are, if you hold the right characteristics and intentions, you will make such a positive difference in people’s lives.