BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult)
Chris, 40, from Keighley, had worked as a chef in a café for most of his adult life. But when the café was forced to close in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, Chris had time to step back and re-evaluate his life and career choices.
He’d often thought about becoming a nurse and working in care - but looking after his family and paying the bills were the priority. Until now.
He is soon to complete his first year on the BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) course at Bradford. This is his story:
Taking a leap of faith
“It was scary to think of giving up a job and studying again.”
"My wife and I have been talking about becoming nurses for the past 10 years. However, with young children and a mortgage, not having the security of knowing everything would get paid, and that we could go on holiday from time to time, was quite daunting. It was scary to think we would have to stop doing all that to study again.
"When the café closed, we had headspace. Like many other people, we went walking a lot during lockdown and we’d walk and talk about our futures and potentially changing direction to become nurses. We came to the conclusion that life’s too short, why don’t we just do it. Now we think, why didn’t we do it sooner!"
Working through Covid
“I saw the passion nurses had through the pandemic and thought, I want to be part of that.”
"I could see how much care homes were struggling during Covid so I applied for a job at a care home while I couldn’t work as a chef. I got so much experience in the fundamentals of care there and within six months, I’d made it to senior care assistant. It confirmed my decision to work in nursing and care and I applied for an access to higher education health science professionals course at Keighley College, which lasted a year."
The transition to university was much easier than the transition to college. I felt more prepared.
The perfect placement
“I didn’t want to leave my first university placement at a hospital.”
"There’s a good mix of classroom-based learning and practical sessions on the course at Bradford, and learning on placement has been my favourite part of the course so far.
"My first placement was at Airedale Hospital, working on a ward with elderly people. I loved the satisfaction of helping them and making their life a bit easier. I also found the communication skills I’d learnt in the café, listening to our customers’ problems and being empathetic to them, set me up well for the ward.
"I didn’t want to leave."
A journey made together
“I enjoy being on this journey with my wife.”
"It’s great having Laura to study with and having shared goals and dreams. We both know what each other’s going through and support each other, and two brains are better than one!
"Our children have been inspired by our decision to retrain, too. My daughter left school to do a beauty therapist course, but she is now on an access to teaching course at Craven College, due to start her teaching degree at Bradford College in September 2022. It’s nice to think we have inspired her to do what she really wants to in life."
“I love helping people and doing the jobs most people don’t like.”
"I’m still to decide on my end career goals, but the experience I’ll gain on the nursing degree will help me know which way to go. At the moment I’m swaying towards working with the elderly because that’s been the crux of my work so far, but I might really enjoy something else. I’m keen to do a palliative care placement, I think that will be really interesting.
"I’m also a proud ambassador for male nurses, fighting the stigma that it’s a female job. There’s still such a shortage; only 10 per cent of staff on wards are male - in 2022, you’d think it’d be so much higher. We need more male nurses to work in practice and know that nursing is a fulfilling job for anyone, irrespective of gender."