Sabrina wins graduation prize after life-changing decision moves her into healthcare

Published: 15 November 2005 at 15:12

Sabrina Bheenick (27), started a three-year nursing programme at Anglia Ruskin University's Institute of Health and Social Care (IHSC) following five years of front-line work with British Airways Plc. Now not only is she celebrating graduating as a nurse, but also enjoying her success as winner of the Kim Trye Graduation Award 2005, for her work in Palliative Care.

The award for best academic performance of a student nurse working with patients with cancer is given annually in memory of Chelmsford nurse Kim Trye. The award is sponsored by one of her former employers Gadsby Wicks, a firm of solicitors who specialize in medical law.

Sabrina, who comes from Epsom in Surrey, chose to rethink her career options after the September 11 disaster which brought a wave of insecurity to the airline industry. Deciding it was time of a fresh challenge, she thought about how she would like to change her career in order to help others and decided to embark on the Pre-Qualifying nursing programme that would lead her to entry to the Register of Nurses.

Training at the IHSC and the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust in Harlow has taught Sabrina a lot about herself. 

She explains:

"The last three years has been a journey of physical and emotional ups and downs.”

"While trying to balance a home-life with study, practice placements and coursework deadlines, I had to face my first personal experience of bereavement and failed my final piece of coursework. I was devastated and on a number of occasions thought I'd never qualify as a nurse.”

"It took a great deal of support from tutors, friends, family, fellow students and the will to not give up and get me through."

Sabrina finally made it and seven weeks ago became a Community Staff Nurse for her local district nurse team in Epsom (East Elmbridge and Mid Surrey PCT).

She continues:

"To pass my re-sit and get the post I wanted was a real achievement. However to hear I also won the Kim Trye award for my work in the Palliative Care module was amazing!'”

"I chose this module as other areas of study such as community and surgical nursing led me to work with palliative care patients prior to taking the module. Therefore, I thought it would be an asset to gain experience of the module for the future palliative patients I would come into contact with.”

"In reality, I had no previous experience of palliative care. However, it helped me to put my own personal experiences of bereavement into perspective and strengthened my knowledge so that I could help others (patient's and their families) dealing with palliative care issues.”

"I also learnt a lot from mental health aspects of the course/practice which have taught me the importance of treating patient's as individuals and holistically. In my experiences I have witnessed health care practitioners focusing on the physical aspects of an individual's illness/condition but have learned that the person's emotional and psychological well being is also valuable in providing the best care.”

"In my opinion, nursing is about empathizing with others and life-long learning: a commitment to developing, learning and sharing one's skills and experiences. I know that it isn't possible to know everything about nursing but I do hope to gain as much experience and develop my skills as a community nurse."

Sabrina is still keenly interested in palliative care but also health education for nurses and patients. She hopes to become an experienced clinician and possibly lecture in nursing one day.

Anglia Ruskin offers courses in adult, child, learning disability and mental health branches of nursing. The University's nursing courses were rated "excellent" by both the Guardian and Times Education guide 2005.