November 18, 2020 | Zoe Fenwick
As a primary caregiver to her mum, leaving home to attend University was a difficult decision for Olivia Turner. Anxieties about her mum’s health added to concerns about how she would be able to support herself financially whilst completing her studies.
The support of a scholarship has helped to alleviate some of these pressures – now in the 3rd year of her nursing degree, Olivia told us about the difference it has made to her.
I’ve known I wanted to become a nurse for a long time, and being given the opportunity to study at Leeds, one of the best universities in the UK for nursing, was a dream come true. However, the decision to accept my place caused a lot of anxiety. I’m the first in my family to go to university, and studying at Leeds meant moving away from home and from my mum, who due to a chronic health condition, depended on me for care. It also brought a lot of financial pressure. I knew that my nursing course would require a lot of travel to placements outside of Leeds, and as my family was unable to support me financially, I was worried about how I would pay for this expense.
My scholarship has provided the vital support I needed, and I can’t stress enough how grateful I am. Relieving some of the financial pressure has enabled me to concentrate on my studies and progress through my course, and I’m absolutely loving it! It’s also enabled me to learn how to drive. After some lessons, I managed to take my test and pass first time! Now that I’ve got my license, it’s much easier to get to my work placements outside of the city. It’s also provided me with peace of mind, knowing that I am now able to get back to my mum quickly if there is an emergency.
I’ve already learnt so much on my course. Working in Nuffield Health Hospital, I had the opportunity to ‘scrub in’ and witness several surgical procedures, including open heart surgery (luckily, I managed not to faint!). I’ve also completed a placement in critical care at St James’ Accident and Emergency department.
Studying during the pandemic has brought about its own challenges, but I’m proud to say I’ve been doing my part to help during the crisis. I’ve been deployed as a student nurse working on the frontline on the Covid-19 wards, and although it has been difficult, I’m pleased that I have been able to provide such vital support during this tough time.
Throughout this experience I’ve learnt how important the support of my friends is. Having the financial freedom to meet up with them for days out and to socialise has been so important to my mental and emotional wellbeing. Working on placement can be isolating sometimes, especially with the added complications of the pandemic. The support my scholarship has given me has helped ease some of the challenges I have faced, and I know that without it, I would have found the adjustment to university life much more difficult. I can’t thank the donors enough for the opportunities they have given me.
Looking to the future, I’m excited to continue my studies, develop my nursing knowledge, and continue on my path to becoming a qualified nurse.