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Coventry University Lecturer Inspired by ‘Life Changing’ Nurse

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A nurse’s knowledge gave Hayley Scutts her life back and inspired her to join the NHS, but it was a Coventry University apprenticeship that allowed her to fulfil her ambitions.

After years of pain, the knowledge of an experienced nurse helped Hayley gain a diagnosis that would change her life in 2014. That inspired her to leave her interior design role to pursue a career in the NHS. Still, due to her personal and financial circumstances, she could not complete a traditional three-year nursing degree.

The introduction of the Nursing Associate paid apprenticeship gave her a second chance to pursue her dream by studying at Coventry University and working at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust.

She said: ‘I know how important nursing is as a nurse gave me my life back. I was in and out of hospital for a few years, getting different treatments but with no diagnosis until I was reviewed by an Advanced Nurse Practitioner who got me the right diagnostic surgery for my conditions.’

‘Before that, I had no idea of the impact that one person could make. I kept seeing a banner outside the hospital that said ‘we need nurses’, and every time I passed, the message hit a little bit deeper. So, I gave up my job, sold my car and joined access to nursing course.’

Hayley added: ‘I did the first year of a nursing degree, but I couldn’t afford to finish due to my bills, children and responsibilities, which was heart-breaking. When the Nursing Associates apprenticeship course came out, it was a godsend. It allowed me to work, earn a wage, learn and get a nursing qualification.’

Hayley qualified as a Nursing Associate in April 2020, and after helping train staff and students on the job, she has become an assistant lecturer on the course.

She said: ‘I qualified just after the pandemic hit and worked in the Intensive Care Unit (ITU) at Warwick Hospital. It wasn’t easy, but I’m fortunate for the support I had from my family and the Trust. Throughout the pandemic, we had staff from different areas join us on ITU, and I found myself supporting the teaching of these new staff members.’

‘Then, when student placements returned, I found it great to work with them, share my knowledge and see them develop. I am now teaching at the university but remain on the shifting bank at the Trust as I want to keep my clinical skills up to date and support as the pandemic continues.’

Hayley concluded: ‘Since I started my journey, the message that we need more nurses has not changed. We need more passionate, caring people to join the profession. The paid apprenticeship course is open to staff with experience or interest in working in healthcare, currently employed in England’s health and social care organisations.

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