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I’m a first year student at the University of Gloucestershire training to be a mental health nurse. I’m 6 months in to the course now, and I’m on my second placement. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the research team and I now work on a mixed acute ward which looks after working age patients. The course is a mixture of theory and practice with a particular focus on looking after yourself and making yourself and your own health a priority. After all, if you aren’t well in yourself, what good are you to other people? I have already learnt so much about myself, developed resilience I never knew I had, whilst continuing to learn how to demonstrate compassion to the patients I see.

No two days are the same, and as cliché as that sounds, it really is true. Every day brings a new challenge, and that means sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone, but it isn’t done without masses of support from those around you, willing you to do well. So far, both my placements have been more than accommodating, and I really do feel like part of the team.

During my studies I have met such a diverse range of individuals, and everybody has a story to tell. Most people have a reason for wanting to train to become a mental health nurse. There isn’t a one fit box for what makes you a good mental health nurse, everybody has their own strengths and life experiences which make them suitable for the role.

I put off studying to be a mental health nurse for a long time, because of my own anxieties. I now realise I didn’t need to be so apprehensive. I have been inundated with support from my lecturers, mentors and 2gether staff whilst having met the most wonderful bunch of like-minded people studying alongside me.

Penny is a first year mental health nursing student at the University of Gloucestershire.

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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.