Abi has always been interested in psychology and working with children. She is proud to say her biggest achievement is becoming a fully qualified nurse. From support worker to registered nurse on a paediatric ward, read Abi’s story to find out about her journey so far.
Hi, I’m Abi.
I’d always been interested in mental health and enjoyed studying psychology at GCSE and A Level, so I thought that doing a psychology degree would provide the best range of career opportunities. I wasn’t sure if this was right for me, so I cancelled my place and worked in retail for a year. A friend then told me about a child health nursing degree programme she was looking at and the variety in this programme felt right – I had finally found what I wanted to do!
To be offered a place on a child health nursing degree, I knew I’d need some experience working in healthcare. I started working in residential care supporting adults with learning disabilities and autism. I worked here for a year and gained invaluable experience supporting people to live as independently as possible. This ranged from providing personal care to helping the wider team. Gaining this experience in care confirmed that I wanted a career in nursing.
It was challenging, but exciting.
I studied at university in Plymouth for three years; around half of this time was spent on a range of placements gaining hands-on experience. Completing placements was a great way to discover the right area for me to work in. I’d always been so interested in mental health I was excited to be doing a placement in CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). My placement here was more of an observation role, working with children with anxiety and depression. I also completed a placement at a children’s hospice that provided respite for children with long-term conditions and their families. This was completely different to all my other placements, which made it so interesting. My favourite placement was at an emergency department at a hospital in Exeter; it was challenging but exciting. The environment was intense, but I had fantastic support from the team.
After graduating, I spent a month in Tanzania volunteering as a nurse. This was such an eye-opening experience which I’d love to do again in the future!
My biggest achievement is becoming a qualified nurse.
I’m now working on a paediatric ward at a hospital in Exeter which is where I knew I wanted to be from my first placement. Every day I’m assigned patients to care for which can range from surgical, orthopaedic including lots of broken arms and legs – especially in the school holidays, and in the winter, we see lots children with respiratory problems. We also support many children with complex needs and mental health conditions.
The most rewarding part of my role is seeing patients and their families when they go home. I support them through their journey in hospital, so seeing them feeling better and happy to go home is a great feeling!
If you are thinking about a career in care and health and are not sure about which route to take, visit our careers page to find out more.