A new student at the University of Salford is swapping a career as a police detective to become a mental health nurse.
Justine Burgess from Cheshire has spent 16 years in the force, but has now been accepted onto a full-time mental health nursing degree at Salford, starting this month.
Ms Burgess joined the police straight from school and worked on cases involving murders and serious sexual crimes. She decided to start a new career in nursing where she could help prevent the spiral of illness and drug addiction that led to many of the crimes she investigated.
Ms Burgess said: “With the police I was dealing with a lot of people who had committed terrible offences, but who often had serious mental health issues and tragic pasts that had led to drug abuse and crime.
“It made me think about a career that would help people manage their conditions and not get involved in criminal activity in the first place,” she said.
Despite having no A-levels, her police experience meant she could enrol onto Salford’s alternative entry scheme, which involved completing a personal statement, taking tests for maths and England, and attending an interview.
Ms Burgess was subsequently granted a place on a three-year degree course.