A former builder has swapped his trowel for nurse’s scrubs after enrolling on Coventry University’s new nursing degree.
Dad-of-one, Matt Ball, 30, is among the first cohort of students to study for the BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing Blended Learning degree, launched in September 2020. The course is also available at master’s degree level, with both accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
They combine flexible, fully interactive, digital learning with practical clinical placements and are designed to break down barriers for people wanting to get into nursing, such as those whose jobs have been negatively affected by the pandemic or have been inspired to swap careers.
Matt was working in construction when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
‘Our line of work was 90% domestic construction and that was essentially wiped out overnight once the first lockdown was announced, with existing work cancelled, and future jobs postponed,’ he explained.
Spending time at home gave Matt the opportunity to see his two-year-old son achieve a lot of his developmental milestones as well as the push he needed to explore a career in the emergency services, which had always appealed to him.
Matt said: ‘I was after something that would allow me to build relationships and get to know patients and what they were going through; the holistic approach of nursing was the real selling point for me. Studying one module at a time on the course is intense, but it suits my style. I also like the flexibility of the course – all the material is there for you to study whenever you have time, and it works really well around family life, work, and childcare.’
Sally Nuttall, assistant professor and admissions tutor, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: ‘We have seen overall undergraduate nursing applications go up by 5%, and by 16.7% for adult nursing since September. This is in keeping with national trends during the pandemic, and we are delighted to be widening access to the nursing profession with our new degrees. Our pioneer cohort on this route is diverse, including both young and mature, those with experience in healthcare roles and others making career changes. They’re showing incredible dedication and passion to their learning with some incredible examples of high academic achievement. It is a pleasure to be part of their journey and we can see already what amazing assets they are going to be to our profession.’
Coventry University is one of the first institutions in the UK to have degree courses of this kind approved, after winning a contract with Health Education England to both develop and deliver them in Coventry and at CU London and CU Scarborough.