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“I have always looked up to nurses and stuck to my plan to become one”

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Published on 02 January 2019

Student nurse Amy Conway
Student nurse Amy Conway

Amy Conway had wanted to become a nurse for as long as she could remember and today that ambition became a reality as she’s one of the first students on her university course to land her dream job.

The 21-year-old, who graduates in April from our Adult Nursing Practice BSc, has made such an impact that she’s already secured a job at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) within Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. She will take up the role once she has completed her final-year placement within the cancer care ward at the Freeman Hospital.

“I still can’t quite believe this is happening, so many applied for the RVI role but there was only one position, I can’t wait to get started,” Amy explained. “I have always had an interest in becoming a surgical nurse, so this is an incredible opportunity. I have always looked up to nurses and the care they give people, I just needed to stick to my plan to become one.”

Despite her determination, Amy, from Wallsend, admits she had a rocky start to university life when she began a nursing course at another university outside of the region.

“I realised quickly this was not the place for me and I missed my family so much, we are very close. After nine months I’d had enough, but thankfully spotted that Sunderland had launched a new course and literally had one day to apply. I jumped on a train with a handwritten application and headed back to the North East as quick as I could. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

She added: “The last three years have been a whirlwind, especially my final year, but I have enjoyed every moment. I have been exposed to so many more opportunities to develop my own skills especially in leadership and management. As a result I became President of the Nursing Society and student rep for the first year. I have been to the Student Nursing Times Awards to support the university and gained the confidence to speak in front an audience.”

Amy was inspired by her own parents’ jobs to help and support others, her father is a firefighter and her mum works in dementia care.

She joined Sunderland in April 2016, as one of the first students to join the newly introduced Adult Nursing Practice programme. Completion of the course leads to registration as an adult nurse.

Already the programme is having an impact after the University’s School of Nursing saw off opposition from across the UK earlier this year to be named Post – registration Education Provider of the Year in the Student Nursing Times Awards. The national awards celebrate the very best in student nurses and nurse education.

The School of Nursing is supporting NHS providers to fill nursing vacancies. Sunderland CARE Academy partner organisations collaborated to develop the programme. CARE Academy partners include City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Patient Carer and Public Involvement (PCPI) members.

Simone Bedford, Team Leader for BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Practice, said: “Amy is a fantastic student nurse, she demonstrates the 6C’s everyday - Courage, Commitment, Caring, Compassion, Competence and Communication. She represented us at the Student Nursing Times Awards 2018 by taking part in the Judging Day and attending the award ceremony.  Amy started her training in North Yorkshire and quickly realised she wanted to be nearer home and since commencing the programme has excelled.” 

Amy said: “I would 100 per cent recommend Sunderland to anyone thinking of nursing. I can’t fault it all. I have always felt valued at the university, and the support was always there if you need it from the staff who are all experienced professionals in healthcare.

“The facilities are also amazing and when you sit your exams you work with real patients, not just mannequins, so you feel more comfortable, it’s a natural conversation, which has been really beneficial.”