Sharon always wanted to become a nurse but life got in the way, at the age of 48 she's taken the step toward making her dream of becoming a nurse come true by studying our Health and Social Care (Integrated Foundation Year) course.

What is your backstory and what brought you to think about coming to university?

My name is Sharon, and I am 48 years old. I have always worked within the healthcare sector, and it has always been my dream to become a Nurse. Unfortunately, I left school with very few qualifications, and I went on to have a family at a young age, ultimately to be able to provide for my children I started work, often working 2-3 jobs at a time – this meant furthering my education became less achievable.

Fast forward 30 years, my children are all grown up with their own families and it became time to think about myself. Due to lack of confidence, I decided to start with Maths and English which I completed at college, fortunately, I passed this and wanted to continue my education journey!

As a Clinical Support worker at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, I often spoke about my desire of becoming a qualified Nurse, my colleagues then convinced me to explore university! As a mature woman, I didn’t think it would be possible, but I started to do some research.

Why did you choose Cumbria? 

After researching, speaking with colleagues and friends, and reaching out to local universities, Cumbria felt like the best option for me. The staff at the university were extremely helpful and supportive and it seemed there were many mature students already attending the university.

Why did you choose to study the Health and Social Care (Integrated Foundation Year) course?

I chose to enrol on the Foundation Health & Social Care Degree course as it best suited me due to having no prior higher education qualifications and the opportunities to progress onto a Nursing route.

Cumbria felt like the best option for me. The staff at the university were extremely helpful and supportive and it seemed there were many mature students already attending the university.

What was the most difficult thing you’ve overcome in your education journey so far?

The most difficult thing in my first year at Cumbria to overcome was being able to adapt to learning at a higher academic level, for example, assignment writing skills and using computer software with which I was not familiar. I overcame this with the support of the tutors and my peers, attending skills @ Cumbria sessions and setting time aside to digest information and complete further self-study.

What was the breakthrough moment for you when things began to fall into place?

Many times I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to complete the first year due to a lack of confidence however I am pleased to say with the amazing support from Cumbria, I made it! I was successfully offered a place on the Nursing BSc at Cumbria for this year, and I continue to work towards becoming a qualified nurse (fingers crossed!)

What are your top tips for anyone else thinking of going to university?

My top tips for other mature students looking to attend university is to use the tools and resources available to you and take time for self-study. If you put the time and effort in, you WILL reap the rewards!

Health and Social Care - With Integrated Foundation Year

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