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Case study – Cody: Access to Nursing

27 March 2023

Cody is studying Access to Nursing at Brighton MET. Alongside her studies, she is taking part in a healthcare placement with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as part of our Health and Care Academy. She spoke to us about her placement and course experience.

Why did you apply for the course? 

I applied for this course as I wanted to change my career, and never found anything that would suit me whilst working full time. I’ve wanted to become a midwife for quite a few years, but I was unable to go straight to university as I didn’t have any A-Levels.

The Access course made this possible, by allowing me to still work full time and have college in the evenings. It is also a pathway into university. I have heard many positive things about access courses, and I chose Brighton MET as it is near where I live.

What is a typical day like on placement?

I generally get to Meadowfield Hospital at 6.50am ready for a 7.00am start, this gives me time to get changed into my scrubs and have a quick coffee before the morning handover.

The handover happens at 7.00am, which is when the nurse in charge of the night shift goes through every patient in the ward, and explains how they were and if they had any difficulties, and if there is anything that the day staff should be aware of. 

After this, Stacey (my mentor) takes me round the ward completing the patient’s temperatures and blood levels in preparation for the patient’s breakfasts. We log all information collected ready for the nurses. At 8.00am it’s breakfast time, which is where I take the patients orders and give them what they would like. This completely flies by.

Once breakfast is over, Stacey takes me round as she completes the blood pressures for each patient and also to check their breathing. Patients can refuse this, which I found quite surprising. Once this is done, we check the rooms to see if any of the beds need changing, or if there is any washing to do. 

I chat to patients with Stacey’s supervision, asking them questions and if they need anything. Each one of them has their own stories, and I’m enjoying getting to know them. 

In no time it’s lunch time, we go round and do the blood pressure again. During this time the patients also have an interactive session with a coordinator. They play games with them, and have exercise classes. 

By 1pm, Stacey and I sit down together and go through the day. She answers any questions and supports my learning. It is also a time for reflection, which I find really useful. Once I have completed this it is home time which is 1.30pm.

Has this placement inspired you to work within mental health services?

I would have never considered going into mental health services, prior to completing my placement. Everyday is different, and you learn how to interact with people who have different mental health issues. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far, and I am keen to continue volunteering here if possible once my course finishes.

What support is available on placement?

The great thing about the placement is all the staff are so welcoming, I have one main mentor who has been so supportive. She answers all of my questions (and I have a lot!) and she is patient and understanding. 

During every shift, there are usually different people on duty, which means you learn from a variety of experiences, and different views.

How has the course helped your career progression?

Although I haven’t finished my course yet, I have already studied so many crucial elements for progressing into the health sector. We have learnt about the NHS, sociology, mental health, biology such as reproduction and much more. We also have different assignment methods such as exams, essays, presentations and reports which really help you prepare for university.

Has the experience been rewarding?

The experience has been very rewarding, it has changed my perspective on mental health and given me so many new opportunities and insights into how a ward is run.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to go to university to study midwifery, however this is all dependent on my grades. If I am unsuccessful, then I would love to continue to pursue a career into mental health nursing.

What advice would you give to anyone considering studying this course at the MET?

Do it! There is so much support available, and you meet great people. Also this course has so many pathways available, you can be a nurse in mental health or paediatric, midwifery and paramedic and so much more. 

When I applied I didn’t realise the vast amount of opportunities available with this one course, so I definitely recommend it.