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Kirsty Beckwith

Career Path: Dermatology Staff Nurse, RVI Hospital, NHS
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I never knew what I wanted to do with my life when I left school after A-levels. So I spent 10 years working in care homes until I realised I wanted to become a nurse. I love working with people, I love seeing them get better and improve, I also have a great empathy and compassion for when they are very poorly and don’t get better. So I went back to college to study an Access to Health course and from there was accepted into Northumbria University to study nursing.

What are you doing now?:

I am now a Dermatology staff nurse however due to Covid-19 it’s a ward for those patients now and I am learning a lot around corona virus and how to assist the medical team in caring for the patients.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?:

I attended a few Open Days and always got a feeling I would be well supported by the lecturers and supporting staff. I felt like I could call Northumbria ‘home’.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?:

It was a very busy 3 years with a mix of lectures, seminars and practicals. I always really enjoyed going to my placements, putting theory into practice and being hands on with my patients. I got great feedback in Year 2 which really helped me achieve better marks on my assignments for the next year. It also really helped to have one to one tutorials with the markers for my work so I could see how I could improve.

How connected was your course with industry?:

I had 3 blocks of placement throughout each year.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?:

I was able to develop my clinical skills and also develop my communication skills. I grew in confidence which helped aid my professional practice under the guidance of my mentors who were informative and very supportive.

What was the best thing about your course?:

Definitely the practicals. It was great being able to have access to the mannikins outside of scheduled sessions so I could practice skills I wasn’t so confident with. The way I could access all the facilities whenever I wanted was great. Many a night was spent in the library after midnight to research and work and I’m not sure I could have got that anywhere else.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?:

I feel that by studying at Northumbria I have a lot of respect from people. It’s one of the best universities in the country for nursing and Newcastle has two great hospitals that have a good reputation. I was able to get a job at one of these hospitals from forming connections with the people I worked alongside whilst on placement.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?:

I learned much in wound care which will help me when my ward returns to normal practice. I also have a lot of knowledge now around infection prevention which is useful at this time.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?:

I enjoyed learning from lecturers who had been in practice and knew what they were talking about. I enjoyed having a personal tutor who I could go to whenever I felt stressed or needed help with a problem.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?:

Definitely come to Northumbria! It’s a great university with incredible facilities. The Student Union is fantastic for support and advice and there are so many groups you can be a part of and make new friends. The city of Newcastle has a great buzz about it and everything is so accessible for students here, there’s always something to do!

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?:

Challenging yet rewarding!

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