School of Health & Society 24.05.24

Nursing Associate celebrates graduation after being inspired to change career by NHS Nightingale role

Nursing associate apprentice graduate, Jennifer Royle, is enjoying double celebrations this week as she graduates from the University of Salford while also achieving a new role in the treatment support team with Pennine Care.

After working for many years as a dental nurse, Jennifer was part of the first group of staff to be redeployed as a care support worker in the newly established NHS Nightingale Hospital in Manchester during the pandemic. 

Through learning about the teams and people involved in ward care, Jennifer was inspired to go back into education. Her successful application to become a trainee nursing associate with Pennine Care led her to the University of Salford. 

Despite being nervous to start her studies having never attended university before, Jennifer is graduating this week and about to start her professional career as a Qualified Nursing Associate in a challenging and rewarding role. 

She tells us: “I’ve secured a job with the treatment support team (with Pennine Care). The team carries out clinics for people with severe mental illness.

“It’s something I’ve always found interesting…. I’ve seen a lot of unwell people and of course that’s very sad to see, but it’s also very rewarding when you’re able to make such a difference for someone by being there.”

Jennifer now says she’s so glad she took the leap to change careers into something she is passionate about. When asked what advice she’d give to others looking to re-enter education she said: “If you’ve got the drive and determination and want to learn something new, go for it! It is challenging, and sometimes you may feel you’ve hit a bit of a stumbling block, but everybody is in the same boat. You are part of a big group of students all going through the same experiences together. And with people both in university and on placement on hand to help, there’s a lot of support around you.

“I couldn’t be happier to have gone through this process because I’ve improved in so many ways. I’ve improved my confidence, my people skills and all the information you learn on the course makes you a more rounded person.”

With her graduation taking place this week, Jennifer is looking forward to the occasion: “It’s something I never thought I’d do… it feels like such an achievement.

“All my friends went through university younger and had their graduation, and I never pictured myself getting the chance to do the same. So yeah, it’s a big day for me!”

Congratulations Jennifer!