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Rachael Betty

MNurs Nursing (Mental Health)

Where are you from?

Newcastle upon Tyne

Why did you choose Northumbria University, Newcastle?

Excellent reputation for nursing and good facilities. Close links with my employer (NTW NHS Trust). Close to home.

What do you think of Newcastle and our region and what are your favourite things to do?

I have always loved Newcastle - biased as a Geordie but I have family in the South and find people are so much friendlier in the North. I like pub quizzes, art/pottery, eating meals out, going for walks, cycling and swimming. There are loads of good pubs and nice places to visit.

What has surprised you most about living in Newcastle and this region? What has impressed you most?

I've always lived in Newcastle but I love being so close to the town centre, the beach and open countryside all at once. The nightlife is awesome, the cost of living is also cheaper than other parts of the country, and again people are very friendly and helpful.

Did you find Northumbria University welcoming? Was it easy to fit in?

Northumbria is very welcoming and help people to get to know each other. It's definitely easy to fit in regardless of who you are, and I often find myself meeting and chatting to people on different courses and in different disciplines, which is really useful for my confidence and understanding others roles. There are combined lectures with students of different disciplines, which also helps to widen your professional perspective.

What have you enjoyed most about coming to Northumbria University?

I would say the amount I've learned so far in my time at Northumbria has been really enjoyable, there are a lot of aspects to mental health which all fascinate me and I feel more well-rounded now. Additionally, I've made loads of new friends that I intend to keep in touch with after the course finishes.

Who has helped you most since you came to Northumbria?

Lecturers, peers and support staff have all been extremely helpful - people regularly ask how we are finding the course and discuss any issues, which are promptly addressed. It's really helpful having an ask4help hotline too - I was able to be talked through how to access Desktop Anywhere from home instantly.

Who has inspired you most at Northumbria University?

All the lecturers are very knowledgeable but two in particular have inspired me more than others. Both have experience in fields I am interested in and are extremely approachable and friendly.

What is your favourite place on campus?

The SU is very relaxed, and there are loads of outdoor spaces to sit in when it's sunny.

Have you joined any sports teams, clubs or been involved in any volunteer projects? Tells us about the highlights?

Initially joined the gym but I found it hard to maintain around placement, but found the facilities really good and the staff were lovely. I have put myself forward as a class mentor for First YEar students and am currently awaiting a reply. I cycle to and from university every day and appreciate the bike locking facilities.

What is the best thing about your course?

We are encouraged to think about and discuss issues throughout the course, which is interesting as we all have different degree backgrounds. A huge positive about this is that there is no such thing as a 'stupid' question as we all bring something different.

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt to date?

Reflective and self awareness exercises have been extremely valuable to me, for developing and realistically appraising skills. Practical sessions are really useful for trying out techniques we have learnt and considering possible issues in practice.

What do you want to do in the future? What skills have you learned/improved that you think will be of most use in your future career?

I will be working as a mental health nurse, and I am particularly interested in working with children and young people in a community setting or working within the military/with veterans. Specialist therapeutic skills are of clear importance here, but I also think my interpersonal skills and ability to quickly establish a rapport have improved. We also have a strong research emphasis in the MNurs, which has increased my interest in research as well as further developed critical thinking from a nursing perspective.

Have you worked on any projects with businesses or been on a placement? What were your most memorable experiences?

I've had three placements in mental health settings so far, and particularly enjoyed my community placement at a day service, where I had the chance to run some therapeutic groups (e.g., relaxation, healthy living, social events) and used my previous work as a chef in my own daily living skills group, where we cooked a different meal from scratch each week. This was particularly rewarding as some group members had never owned a pan prior to this, and the increase in their self confidence undertaking cookery and group cohesion was brilliant to see.

If you could offer some advice to students thinking of coming to study here what would you say?

I would say go for it. Northumbria has excellent facilities, great opportunities such as volunteering to deepen and expand your university experience. There are a range of soctieties, that would cater to everyones needs. Newcastle itself is a great city, vibrant fun and rich and there's always something or somewhere new to try. The beach and the countryside are close by too!

How do you feel you have changed as a person since being at Northumbria University, Newcastle (e.g. confidence)?

I think I have become a much more confident person in approaching others, trying new things and going out of my comfort zone.

If you had 3 words to sum up your time with us what would they be?

Fun, Intense, Diverse!

Would you recommend Northumbria University to a friend?



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