How Ahmed made the switch from Animal Science to Mental Health Nursing

A group of nursing students stood together smiling at the camera. One student at the front has their arm in a cast

Ahmed from Nigeria decided to switch careers to mental health nursing from a background in animal science. After being inspired by a Salford-qualified nurse, Ahmed decided to take the leap of faith and study our MA Mental Health Nursing.

Read about his experiences on the course.

Choosing Salford

“I originally came to the UK in May 2021 for a six-month research stay under the Climate, Food and Farming Global Research Alliance Development Scholarships Programme (CLIFF-GRADS) focusing on animal science, which is what I had studied previously.

However, after working part-time as a health care assistant, I decided that I wanted to make a career change to mental health nursing. I was considering applying to the University of Salford or another institution.

During one of my shifts at a nursing home, I noticed one particular nurse had excellent communication skills, compassion for her patients and demonstrated all the values of a great nurse. Afterwards, I asked her where she had completed her nursing training and she said at the University of Salford.

After this conversation, I decided immediately that the only place I wanted to study was at Salford. I was hopeful with their excellent training I would develop the same attitudes and level of professionalism she had shown.”

MA Mental Health Nursing

“The course is a combination of theory and practice as stipulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) guidelines. For our practical sessions, we have placements in different healthcare settings or use the University’s simulation suites. The equal time dedicated to both theory and practice allows us to compare the textbook approach to the clinical reality.

The best thing about Salford is the tutors’ wide range of knowledge, all my teachers have at least 14 years of experience with some even qualifying in the 1980s. It is a privilege to be taught by people who have been in practice for so long. When they talk on a topic they are able to give real examples from their experiences.

So far, I have been on three completely different placements. The first was in a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where I learnt about treatment plans for adults with mental health challenges ranging from intensive to acute. Then I went to an Acute Neurological Unit where I was exposed to physical health nursing skills. Finally, I went to a later life unit as part of the Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust where I attended to elderly people with conditions such as depression, anxiety and dementia. It was incredible to get exposure to this as a student nurse because this is the area I plan to work in when I qualify.

My most memorable academic experience was during my placement at the Acute Neurological Unit. A patient was admitted and there were behavioural changes that the adult nursing specialists were not familiar with. Using my training, I was able to step in to de-escalate the situation, reassure the patient of her safety and help the team.”

My future plans

“I plan to work in a later life mental health unit after registering with the NMC once I graduate. After I have built up my experience, I would like to pursue a PhD in mental health nursing with a focus on the elderly. My goal is to move into academia as a mental health nursing lecturer or researcher whilst still engaging in the field. I hope to be a global citizen and help to raise awareness of mental health globally.”