Meet Sarah and Alina, both part of the nursing team at St Faith’s nursing home in Cheltenham and on an inspirational journey into nursing thanks to their incredible drive to learn.
Sarah started her career as a Carer in 2016 and has just qualified as a Nursing Associate; the first to achieve this at St Faith’s! She undertook the two year Nursing Associate course whilst continuing her job as a Carer and studying a day a week at the University of Gloucestershire.
“It was hard as I hadn’t been in education for years but I learned a lot and I’m still learning every day. I like the atmosphere here. You get to know the people – the residents and I like the personal side of it. I wouldn’t suit a hospital.”
The Nursing Associate course is fully funded as an apprenticeship and was new when Sarah started the qualification. Being able continue earning her normal salary whilst on the course was really crucial for Sarah. “I couldn’t have done it if it hadn’t been offered as apprenticeship through the charity.”
As part of the course Sarah organised placements to gain experience in other settings. She went to The Dean Neurological Centre in Gloucester, A&E and at the Sue Ryder Hospice, as she has a particular interest in end of life care.
Sarah now has plans to go on to gain the full Nursing degree but first wishes to gain more experience as a Nursing Associate first.
St Faith’s Home Manager Teresa said, “The team here are all delighted with Sarah’s achievement. Since she joined us as a Carer in 201,6 she has taken every training opportunity, and it’s been a privilege to see her development. We are proud to have her as part of our nursing team.”
Next up, Alina, a Mental Health Nursing student in her last year of her degree at the University of Gloucestershire and on placement at St Faith’s.
Lilian Faithfull Care has welcomed students for many years, but Alina is the first student Mental Health Nurse. It has been so successful they are hoping to continue this in the future.
Alina has her own inspirational learning journey; she started work as a domestic at a Mental Health hospital in London before becoming a Carer. And as Alina explains “I then decided to go to school!”
She is now studying for a degree in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Gloucestershire. “It’s been hard but it’s been worth it,” explains Alina who has already been offered a job after she graduates back at the London hospital she started at. “It’s been a good place to learn about Mental Health. It’s different to my other placements but interesting.”
Pauline, Clinical Lead at St Faith’s and Nurse mentor adds, “I have found it a rewarding teaching and learning experience. The knowledge shared has benefited us in highlighting the fine line between mental and physical health, bringing to light the statement, ‘as you think, so you are’!”
Nick Oxlade from the School of Health and Social Care at the University of Gloucestershire said, “University of Gloucestershire have been delighted with the success of the relationship with Lilian Faithfull Care, which has been reflected in the staff and student experience whilst on placement. As one of the first non NHS placements set up 7 years ago, the experience of students in this setting has gone from strength to strength.”
Sarah and Alina have had different journeys and experiences but both have taken every training and development opportunity available and said ‘Yes’ to everything.
With this desire to learn they have exciting careers ahead of them which the charity Lilian Faithfull Care are proud to support.