Nicholas Harfield

Learning Disability Nursing with foundation year – BSc

Nicholas was offered a place at a university, but it didn’t feel like the right choice for him. He took a chance and rang BCU on results day to see if there were any Nursing places available. Even though he hadn’t originally considered Learning Disability Nursing, it turned out to be exactly what he was looking for.

“I got an unconditional offer from a university that I really didn’t want to go to. So, I decided that going through Clearing would be a better option than going to a university I didn’t think was right for me. I’d actually applied to BCU in the main cycle, but unfortunately, I wasn’t offered a place. I thought it was worth giving it another go on results day.

I grew up in Birmingham, so I knew choosing BCU would feel like coming home. When I spoke to the Clearing hotline and faculty staff throughout my Clearing process, they were so friendly and helpful. The fact that I knew they wanted me to succeed is what really sealed the deal and made me sure BCU was right for me.

On results day, I felt really nervous but also determined. I knew I didn’t have enough UCAS points for some courses, but I was determined to get on to a Nursing course because I knew it was what I wanted to do and where I was meant to be.

Over the phone, I found out that Learning Disability (LD) Nursing with a foundation year was available. I didn’t originally want to do a foundation year or study LD Nursing. I wanted to study Child Nursing, as before I started university, I thought children were the people who needed the most support. However, once I did a bit of research, I actually learnt that not a lot of people choose to specialise in LD Nursing and therefore those with Learning Disabilities are vulnerable people who need extra support and resources.

I decided to go for it as my goal was to help vulnerable people and LD nursing felt like the right path for me to take. I love the fact that LD Nursing is more holistic, you get the chance to work with families and really get to know your patients.

The foundation year was great for me. It had a broad, scientific focus but it also allowed me to prepare for the course. I got to speak to staff and think about the types of opportunities and placements I wanted to take part in, before jumping straight in.

As an LD Nurse, I like the fact that you get to experience lots of different healthcare settings on placement. I thought I’d be placed in hospitals and that’s where I’d work for the rest of my life, but I’ve been able to work in a school, a prison, local communities and a GP Practice. It’s been really eye-opening to see the different options that are out there and to decide where I do and don’t want to take my career.

I think about my life if I’d never taken that chance on results day and called BCU. I love the freedom I have in my life living in Birmingham and the opportunities that have come my way because of BCU.

I would tell someone who is going through Clearing to be determined. There are lots of options like foundation years and different courses, so keep trying and see what your options are.”