Changing career and changing her life: Graduate Rebecca says Bucks is for everyone

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Date: 10th Sep 2019

Rebecca Traynor has changed career and juggled being a mum with studying. Here she tells us why Bucks has proved education is for any one, at any time, whatever the circumstance.Rebecca-Traynor

When I decided to embark on the Postgraduate Diploma with Specialist Practitioner Qualification at Bucks, I was nervous.

I had recently moved to the South East from the Midlands and had started a new career in community nursing after working as a staff nurse in an acute hospital setting for around 14 years.

A mum with two young boys, I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew.  Would I be able to study at this level? Would I be the one who would find it hard to keep up with the amount of work expected of us? I had a lot to learn.

When I arrived on campus for our induction week I was excited.  I was met by a fantastic bunch of people, all feeling the same as I was, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that we would share and that would collectively benefit us all.

The ice was broken effortlessly by our superb group of lecturers. They were just like us, all were nurses who were passionate about trying to change things for the better, by researching and changing working practices, imparting their wisdom and being inspiring role models and champions of the profession.

I had found a new group of friends, all sharing the same destiny, all keen to learn and to progress in their careers, everyone passionate about their jobs and how the course could help them to become better practitioners within our beloved NHS.

We didn’t realise it on that first week but we were on a journey which would change us, it would make us more resilient, professional, able.

The course was going to help us evolve into leaders of people, more aware of the bigger picture and to make us agents for change. Capable of really making a difference to the way everybody works on a day to day basis for the better.

There were so many high points, immediately after handing in a large piece of work was always a good time for me! Another particular favourite was the amazing piece of work we completed around our event day with the theme of Mental Health Across the Lifespan.

We were tasked with holding a public event at the University and apart from being given the theme, we had to create a concept and deliver it.

As a group I feel that this particular part of the course was a game changer, pushing us out of our comfort zones and making us believe that we were really capable of anything.

The cohort were split into teams, which included marketing, catering, gallery, event and the senior management team.

Each team had to complete their part to ensure that the whole task succeeded. There was no room for egos or people to rest on their laurels. The task demanded that every single person had a part to play on making the whole thing work….and this I believe was the point of the exercise.

In addition to showing us the importance of working together, I feel that we genuinely raised awareness about the important subject of mental health, reaching out to healthcare professionals and the public and raising a lot of money for charity in the process. All in all a high point of the course.

Along with the highs, there were inevitably some lows.  One particular low point shared by many was our dreaded V100 prescribing exam.

An incredibly tough requirement of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, filling us all with dread with its demand for a 100% pass mark.  If we didn’t pass this then we would fail the whole course…..

And this running adjacent to us feverishly writing our dissertations. The stress levels could not have been higher.  What I found remarkable about my fellow students and lecturers at that time was how we all pulled together and became shoulders to cry on, giving each other strength to carry on when the going got tough.

The lecturers saw us broken and had an amazing ability to build us back up, motivating us and making us believe that we could do it, we were good enough.

I think the most surprising part of the course was the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed every part of it, all of the highs and the lows.

It has absolutely changed my life.

Since completing the course I have been promoted to Clinical Lead for Bracknell District Nursing and have also managed to have my dissertation published in the British Journal of Community Nursing which is something I am so proud of and could never have imagined I would be capable of doing if it were not for my personal tutor Sarah Thirtle guiding me.  For that I am truly thankful.

I am proud that we opened the doors to Bucks, inviting the public in to see the amazing work of the students here and I am proud of the work ethos which resonates throughout the institution. Brighter futures absolutely can be built.

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