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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 BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing Practice degree and then getting employed in the NHS or based in the community after graduating. Studying at the University, Nichola loves the fact that she can put the theory into practice while on placements.

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 nursing, I previously 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 course are simulations with real people known as PCPIs (Patient, Carer & Public Involvement) who are previous patients or carers of people with mental health problems. This gives you real hands-on experience that you would not be able to get elsewhere and builds up your confidence especially when going out into practice on your first placement.

We are then able to put the theory learned into practice on placements which helps us embed our learning further. Placements also provide an excellent opportunity to be involved with patients care from day one and work with a range of healthcare professionals.

Do some research on the type of nursing roles you would be interested in and the opportunities available to you once qualified. Come along to an Open Day so you can have a look at the University of Sunderland’s facilities and it will also give you 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 would like 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 each milestone you reach on the programme. Quite simply it is a life-changing experience."

Published 20 March 2019

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