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'I have not lost faith in the UK's nursing workforce, I want to join them'

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Ciar Ooi started off studying English but her expansive nursing work experience has persuaded her to try her hand at nursing

Back in 2008, I graduated from Lancaster University with a 2:1 degree in English Language feeling enthusiastic about entering the working world but with absolutely no idea of what route I wanted to take.

Like many care-free undergraduates nearing the end of their three years, I realised I had spent so much time focusing on completing my studies that very little thought had gone into why I was doing it and what actually motivated me as a person.

Though I have always had a natural interest in people, health and wellbeing, whilst focusing on sociolinguistic studies, grammatical composition and theories of speech and language acquisition – at this point, the idea of nursing as a career seemed an impossible option for me.  

Five years on, however, I am now eagerly hoping to begin nurse training in September 2013.

In February 2012 I began working at Liverpool Community Health in an admin role for the Tailored Care Mersey QIPP Programme – which aims to reduce hospital admissions for patients with long term conditions.

In identifying those at risk early, supporting, educating and ultimately enabling and empowering patients to take control of their illnesses, I have been able to see the life-changing effect that caring, compassionate and devoted community matrons, nurses and therapists can have on these individuals. I couldn’t help but feel anything but the greatest respect for what they did and why they did it.

I also chose to become a hospital volunteer at Wrightington hospital, providing support on an orthopaedic ward carrying out duties such as preparing rooms, making beds, delivering meals, and interacting with patients. I found this experience very enjoyable and the patient contact it provided was extremely rewarding. In shadowing other nurses I was able to gain an appreciation of their many day-to-day responsibilities and begin to understand the demands and expectations required for such a responsible and vital role.  

Having also previously completed numerous placements as a teaching assistant in both primary schools, I also feel extremely passionate about promoting development, safeguarding and giving children the best possible start towards a happy and healthy lifestyle.  

With the current Call for Action for Health Visitors, to additionally gain a greater insight into this area of specialist nursing, I recently attended a health visiting careers event organised by LCH where I spoke to current health visitors/ students about their role in the community, their motivations and the varied challenges that they are confronted with.

I arranged to shadow some health visitors within the trust, joining members of the team on home visits and was able to observe first-hand the invaluable guidance and support offered to new families from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances. In also being fortunate to observe a drop-in ‘health & advice’ baby clinic, I found the physical and mental development of babies fascinating and it became instantly apparent how highly beneficial the health visitor service was to new parents and families in Liverpool.

Despite some of the negative press nurses have received in recent months, based on those I have had the pleasure to observe over the past year in my current role, whilst shadowing and volunteering, I have certainly have not lost confidence or faith in the UK’s nursing workforce.

It has in fact encouraged me to want to get out there, join them and personally contribute towards such a worthwhile, meaningful and ultimately rewarding cause.

We, and our loved ones, will all be patients at some point and it is surely human nature to want to help support and care for those who are vulnerable and in need – to therefore one day be able to do it daily and call it my job seems a privilege.

Ciar Ooi and is awaiting confirmation on a place at Liverpool John Moores.

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