My 'journey of discovery' into nursing

Course: BSc (Hons) Nursing - Mental Health

11 July 2017

Adrian Thackeray

We caught up with Anglia Ruskin graduate and registered mental health nurse, Adrian Thackeray, to find out how university helped prepare him for his career.

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Adrian obtained a Vice Chancellor's award and first class honours when qualifying as a registered mental health nurse with Anglia Ruskin University. He currently works in clinical practice and is a recovery champion. He guest lecturers on recovery, and has devised modules for recovery colleges.

Here's Adrian's account of his time at Anglia Ruskin.

Nursing was a natural vocation for me, my life was full of experiences of caring for others and I wanted to formalise this into a professional qualification.

I chose Anglia Ruskin because it is a dynamic, modern environment that facilitates learning in creative ways. The campus at Chelmsford offered an exciting and fresh setting to learn in.

The most challenging aspect of nursing is balancing the demands of the system whilst providing individualised and unique care for patients. I was inspired by knowing that my educational team at the university were there for me 100% and gave me their time in any issues I faced.

I learnt that nursing is an evolving vocation that never ceases to stop growing in terms of the nursing role and responsibilities. Lecturers provided fresh and enthusiastic teaching sessions (both in terms of clinical skills and the therapeutic relationship) that always stimulated thinking and bridged the theory to practice gap. My lecturers not only taught us the theories behind nursing, they created ways to make us think outside the box and cleverly managed to hone a group of student nurses into realising they were the leaders and managers of the future. The enthusiasm of the teaching team was second to none, particularly around learning how to manage a team and dealing with critical situations that could arise. This happened through role playing, scenarios and encouraging us to always think critically about situations in practice.

Nursing is far from a single-track journey. The possibilities are endless and if you are an individual who wants to utilise a range of interests and skills you will have the opportunity to bring these into your practice. It is about taking opportunities, being assertive in situations where you can fill the gap with your knowledge and taking some risks to go the extra mile to show who you are as a person.

A good nurse is one that is sincere, compassionate and teachable under sometimes difficult circumstances. A good nurse performs a balancing act between organisational and interpersonal skills whilst upholding a genuine and curious stance towards the needs of others. A good nurse never ignores their gut feeling about a situation.

Whilst care is the centre of nursing, nursing is also about providing a gold standard service and it demands a range of both organisational, interpersonal and clinical skills. Nursing gives an individual the opportunity to lead and be a leader whilst never forgetting to have a teachable spirit and be open to new ways of working. It is full of surprises.

Since leaving Anglia Ruskin I have taught as a guest lecturer, written a chapter in a textbook for undergraduate nurses that has been published and developed training materials for the local NHS Trust. These materials have been used to train staff in person-centred approaches and recovery from mental health issues. I now work in an extended role as Recovery Champion.

Be prepared to go on a journey of discovery, never think each day will be the same and be prepared to be refined in character, both professionally and personally.