I qualified as a nurse in 2006 and progressed within the profession until I reached a point where I felt like I needed to expand on my knowledge as a practitioner working with children and families. My final nursing role involved working as a specialist nurse with children who have complex needs or who are at the final stages of life. I knew that qualifying as a social worker would allow me to gain a wider range of knowledge and experience, so after completing my top-up degree in Nursing, I embarked onto the master's course.
I chose the University of Sunderland to complete my top-up degree as I knew it would support my application to go on to study for the MA Social Work. The University offered me a choice of course and fully supported me in trying to fulfil my career expectations – I had chosen to change my profession and I was prepared to work hard to achieve this. I also knew from my research that Sunderland is an incredibly supportive and inclusive university, and it encompasses everything I love about the North East.
The inclusivity ended up being one of my favourite aspects of studying at Sunderland. The entire MA Social Work cohort worked together, along with our lecturers, to make sure we had the best experience possible during the global pandemic. The course itself was very interactive and we were all given the opportunity to share our own knowledge and skills, which was widely respected.
Upon graduating, I secured a job in social work and I’m now working through my first year, which is an assessed year. The course prepared me for this, as I’ve come to learn that social work is a continuous learning environment. The master's also equipped me with the skills I needed to work with different service users, helping me to focus on my ability to communicate with, listen to and support a variety of service user groups, which is an invaluable skill for any social worker. My future aims are to teach within a university setting and have the ability to use my past and future knowledge and experience to support students to achieve their dreams, whether that be in nursing or social work.
To anybody considering studying for a degree, my advice would be to work together with your peers and lecturers, embrace every experience that you can and put 100% into your learning. Always respect others’ opinions and take everything that you learn into your future career. I spent three happy years studying at Sunderland, coming out with two qualifications that I worked hard to accomplish. I made some lifelong friends and colleagues which have spanned from the end of one profession into the start of a new one. Although it was hard work throughout, it has been completely worth it.”
Published 7 July 2022