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Case Study

Nichola Laidler

South Tyneside, UK

BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing Practice

After caring for a family member who had various mental health problems, Nichola Laidler wanted to make a positive difference to others in a similar situation by taking on the BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing Practice degree, pursuing a career in the NHS after graduating. Studying at the University, Nichola loves the fact that she can put theory into practice while on placement.

I chose to study at the University of Sunderland due to its modern and high quality facilities, including the newly built mental health ward which enables you to integrate both theory and clinical practice.

Before I decided to go into nursing, I worked in the Further Education sector as a tutor, delivering a range of qualifications in business, customer service, and independent living skills for adults with learning disabilities.

The best aspects of the BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing Practice course are the simulations with real people known as PCPIs (Patient, Carer and Public Involvement) who are previous patients or carers of people with mental health problems. This gives you real hands-on experience that you wouldn't be able to get elsewhere and builds up your confidence, especially when going out on your first placement. Placements really help us embed our learning further, providing an excellent opportunity to be involved with patients' care from day one and working with a range of healthcare professionals.

My advice to prospective students would be to do some research into the type of nursing roles you would be interested in and the opportunities available to you once qualified. Go along to an Open Day so you can have a look at the University of Sunderland’s facilities and have the chance to speak to current staff and students. This might give you a better feel to see if it’s the right course and university for you. 

Once I qualify, I'm hoping to be employed in the NHS as a mental health nurse, either on an inpatient ward or based in the community. I would also like to continue to develop my skills and knowledge as a nurse with the long term goal of completing a postgraduate qualification in the future.

I would definitely recommend the University of Sunderland, not only because of its first class facilities, but the support and encouragement that you get from staff is second to none. Their knowledge within their specialisms is demonstrated in teaching sessions and we, as students, benefit fully from their expertise. The library is also a great resource as it provides study skills sessions for students to develop their academic skills, as well as being a great place if you need a quiet place to study.

It's very challenging at times, managing deadlines for assignments and working on placement, but overall very rewarding. It gives you a great sense of achievement with each milestone you reach on the course. Quite simply put, it is a life-changing experience."

Published 20 March 2019

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