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I am currently studying Mental Health Nursing at the University of Gloucestershire and am in my first year of the course.

I became interested in learning more about how physical and psychological conditions may be interlinked when my sister was receiving chemotherapy treatment to treat leukaemia. Mental health issues are inevitably a common response to a cancer diagnosis, and whilst her treatment was focused on her physical health, I felt her mental health should be considered as equally important.

At the time, I was working in retail banking and knew that this wasn’t a long term career choice for me. I started to look into the possibility of a career within mental health and, after visiting the University of Gloucestershire and learning about the mental health nursing course, I knew this was something I was passionate about and was excited about the opportunities the course offered. What most appeals to me about mental health nursing is the ability to help and empower people right across society, providing general healthcare alongside specialist mental health care to the most vulnerable. The course offers a wide range of experience leading to a number of different career paths and I’m keen to gain experience in these areas in order to specialise in an area I am passionate about.

Throughout my experiences on the course so far I have learnt how important it is to show empathy, trust and respect to people suffering with physical and mental illnesses, and how invaluable support, treatment and self care are to a person’s recovery. I am passionate about pursuing a career where I can support people and challenge discrimination.

I had little clinical experience before starting the course, so my first placement at Wotton Lawn on an acute ward was the ideal first placement for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and the experiences I gained, from completing mental state assessments to helping patients with basic activities of daily living. This has given me an excellent foundation for future placements. I’m currently based on the perinatal team and am learning so much. I also have the exciting opportunity to do an elective placement abroad at the end of this academic year, and in May I will be travelling to Ireland to work in a psychiatric hospital. I am excited to learn about the differences between care in Ireland and the UK.

Six months into the course and I know I made the right choice for me. The University’s collaboration with 2gether is innovative and exciting, and I would highly recommend the course to anyone who might be considering it!

Katherine is in the first year of a mental health nursing degree at University of Gloucestershire.
Join the conversation on Twitter – #MHNursesDay

Find out more

Want to know more about the path to becoming a mental health nurse? Visit healthcareers.nhs.uk

Find out more about the University of Gloucestershire degree course here.

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