Newly-qualified nurses join wards at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn
Seven new registered nurses have achieved their degrees after years of juggling study with the demands of working on the wards.
Helen Cameron, Samira Ayssi, Kerry Jones, Kristy Jupp, Kayleigh McCourt, Laura Delaney and Lauren West are now proudly wearing their blue uniforms on the wards of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
All seven have achieved a nursing degree through the Open University or the University of Suffolk while also caring for patients as health care assistants (HCAs) at the Hospital.
The QEH is hoping to increase its levels of registered nursing staff by helping a number of health care assistants to gain degrees.
Caring for her grandmother inspired Lauren West to become a nurse and has achieved her ambition through the Open University.
She has gained vital experience as she studied for her degree by working as a HCA.
She is hoping to get more experience in different areas of the Trust and will be undertaking placements in Surgery and A&E.
“It is an amazing feeling to have completed the degree and we do feel the responsibility of being nurses,” she said.
“I would recommend the route of work-based learning to other people as you get a lot of experience and it is also nice not having to worry about the stress of student loans.”
Being able to earn while she learned has allowed Kayleigh McCourt to achieve her dream of becoming a nurse.
She said: “This has been a massive thing as I have a family and I would not have been able to do it by any other route.
“I had always aspired to be a nurse and I really enjoy my work. Being a nurse means you make a difference to patients in the worst and best of times along with relieving suffering.”
Samira Ayssi first joined the Hospital staff as a cleaner, while still holding down a retail job, before becoming a HCA in 2007.
Samira took on the work-based learning course as going to university was not possible as she has a family.
She said: “I have always wanted to be a nurse as I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.
“I love helping people and knowing that I’ve made a difference is very satisfying. I love spending time with patients as it’s very rewarding. I have asked to do extra shifts as a HCA so I can spend time with patients and help them with washing.”
Helen Cameron has wanted to be a nurse since she was six and has worked hard to achieve that dream since joining the trust in 2012.
“It is overwhelming and I am so proud. I lost my mum in February and she would have also been proud,” she said.
“Being a nurse is something I always wanted to do but never had the opportunity as I have a family but the Trust has helped.”
Kerry Jones had worked at the Post Office for a number of years but was inspired to become a nurse after watching QEH staff care for her mum.
She became a HCA at the QEH in 2010 and went onto take the opportunity to study for her degree.
She said: “All the staff who cared for my mum were so good it inspired me to get into the care industry.
“Working while being able to study for a degree has been brilliant for me as I could not have become a fulltime student as I have a family. This has also given me a wealth of experience.
“It feels fantastic to have completed my degree. I have met a lot of people who will be friends for life and the clinical educators have been really supportive.”