Claire Carmichael

Adult Nursing - BSc (Hons)

Claire never thought of university as an option when she was younger, due to her GCSE results. However, after working in a care-home and realising her passion for helping people, she didn’t let this stop her. Her hard work saw her gain a place on BCU’s Adult Nursing course. Since then, she has gone on to achieve great things such as becoming a Student Academic Leader, joining the Higher Achievers Recognition Scheme and become an official vlogger for the university.

“I didn’t achieve great GSCE results (D’s and E’s mainly) at school which knocked my confidence and put me off from wanting to go to university. It wasn’t until I started working at a care home for the elderly and fell in love with nursing that I decided to take the leap. I went and achieved the GCSE equivalent needed, followed by the Access to HE diploma and applied to study adult nursing at Birmingham City University. I only wanted to apply to BCU as I had heard great things about the University, I also had a great feeling about it and followed my gut instinct.

However, it actually took me two attempts to get into BCU as during my first interview I couldn’t remember the 6 C’s of nursing! My mind had gone blank and I was far too nervous. Luckily, second time round I was great and bagged myself a place. I was so so happy, as I had originally started a nursing degree in 2012, but I had to withdraw after a few months due to almost being made homeless and having to move back in with my mum. So to be able to start again in 2017 was amazing, especially as I am awful at interviews and this was my main downfall.  I am a mature student now however, with rent and bills to pay, so this was a tough decision to come to uni. Luckily, I have managed just fine and have managed to work out a way to balance work life and university life to get those bills paid on time.

In the beginning, everything felt so overwhelming, everything was new and I had no friends at all. But after a month of two, I settled in nicely and I was made to feel very welcome by the whole team! There is an amazing Twitter community of BCU nurses out there and I wish I had found this at the very start of my degree! This community is full of lecturers and students, the lecturers take their time out to comment, RT and message us students which makes me feel even more part of the BCU family.

There’s a couple of things I’m proud of since joining the university, including the huge support from the BCU team! They have encouraged me to be a better person, a better nurse. I am proud to be a Birmingham City University student because of this. I have also just won ‘Inspirational student of the year’ at the Extra Mile Awards, which I never in a million years would have dreamt of winning! That was a proud moment for me that brought me to tears. The support from various teams across the site has been great, the Academic Development Department has been amazing, great for my assignment writing! The library staff are fantastic and always ready with a smile and great advice. SPACE is amazing for practising those clinical skills before heading out to placement. My personal tutor Alison Simmons has been amazing too! I had a bit of a tough year last year and Alison along with Ann-Marie Dodson were amazing. They helped me so much and area real credit to the University.

A huge personal goal of mine is obviously to qualify! Grades don’t make me a better nurse at the end of the day, but this is purely my own personal achievement. Coming from the girl who didn’t get anything at school and being the first in my family to get a degree. BCU has helped me through this by motivating me. Each lecturer has said something during their teaching that has encouraged me to keep going and aim higher. Some of them do not even realise they have done this!

In terms of myself, I have changed massively! In fact, all of my colleagues from work and friends have said this too. I am far more confident in myself and I push myself to my limit a lot more than I ever would. Before BCU I just wanted to get my head down and get this degree out the way. However, now I have ambition in my soul, and I want to reach for the stars! There is so much I want to do in this life and that’s all down to the motivation of BCU staff and students.

I absolutely LOVE the community here! I have been involved with a few things as part of this; International students mentoring over at the Curzon building, becoming a Student Academic Leader, taking part in Polygon (formerly Brumwise) magazine, and becoming an official vlogger / blogger for the University. I don’t know how I fit it all in to be honest, but I definitely sleep very well at night!

The biggest challenge has been revision. I tend to get distracted easily and have to find different ways to revise to help it sink in. I have always suffered with memory during exams and experience mental blocks. I have overcome this with the teaching at BCU, one of the lecturers Andy Powell once said, ‘use all the lobes of the brain, so when one goes blank the rest will back it up!’ This has been a life saver! This theory really works for me and it’s all I have been doing since first year. It has helped me overcome the mental blocks and pass every exam so far.

My time at Birmingham City University has been unforgettable and I AM BCU means to me: I am part of a family. I am going to really miss it all when I qualify this year!”

Nursing I AM BCU CTA

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