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Growing your NHS career

Carlie Page, healthcare apprentice

Having a brain tumour in 2007 was the catalyst for me wanting to become a nurse. The care and empathy I received made me desperate to work in a healthcare role.

I had previously worked in a bank for six years and was becoming increasingly unfulfilled in this career. I decided to start my career within the NHS by becoming a volunteer. I loved visiting the wards, especially the elderly care ones. Many patients in these wards didn't have visitors and it meant a lot to be able to give something back. During annual leave in my old job, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to do work experience for a week in the Wessex Neurological Centre. That was it for me. I knew that nursing was my calling as I loved the interaction with the patients and was heartbroken when the placement was up.

From there I applied for a health care assistant job which I was lucky enough to get. I was placed on D6 which is a male respiratory ward. I haven't looked back since. For the first time in my life I am in a career which I feel I was made to do. The job satisfaction is incredible and I’m proud to have advanced to become a band 4 associate practitioner.

Undertaking the apprenticeship is helping me to build on my skill set and be able to undertake procedures such as catheterisation, blood taking and inserting naso-gastric tubes, so it was a natural progression for me. In the future I will be applying to undertake my nurse training via the Open University. I would really recommend anyone seeking a career in the NHS to start with volunteering. It's an excellent and fulfilling way to give something back and who knows what doors it can open for you.

Want to know how Carlie's career is progressing? Find out more in our 2019 update below.

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In 2019, Carlie’s foundation degree in nursing is well underway, and she is looking forward to moving onto a full nursing degree apprenticeship in the next few years.

‘I’ve worked really hard in the past few years, so I’m giving myself the best chance possible to apply for the nursing degree apprenticeship. It hasn’t always been easy – I found the required maths qualification quite challenging at times, but I’ve done my best to improve and now I feel quite confident about it!

‘We see so many interesting things in the allergy department; no day is ever the same. Last year I went on my first nursing placement and although I found the adjustment to the shift patterns quite hard, getting back into caring for patients and working on a ward was a great experience.

‘To anyone who wants to get into nursing and feels anxious about taking that first step, I would say go for it and don’t give up – it’s such a great experience and the rewards are worth all the hard work.’