Alex Griffiths

Adult and Child Nursing - MSci

From the age of five, Alex stepped in as a young carer for his mum . Since then, he has strived to push himself into a medical career. Alex ’s first healthcare job was on a Covid ward  before starting university and since then, he has  been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the NHS and community in the West Midlands. After struggling through college, Alex is now achieving incredible things whilst studying for his MSci Adult and Child Nursing degree.

‘I was young carer for my mom since the age of five. She has had chronic progressive multiple sclerosis since before I was born. Growing up, I had the responsibility to help with her care and to help her do day to day tasks. I've always looked after her, but she is very independent and very stubborn! It's cheesy but I feel like caring for my mum prepared me to step into the world of nursing later down the line. I now say with confidence that nursing and caring for people is what I'm here for, it's what I'm good at.

I originally stayed studying at my secondary school for sixth form, I took biology, chemistry and maths at A-levels but completely crashed and burned at the end of my first year. I really enjoyed biology, but everything else was just mind-blowing and so I ended up having to stay back a year and redo year 12. I started year 12 again, but did a complete mixture of courses, health and social care, A-level sociology and photography. I passed all of my courses at the end of sixth form and applied for an apprenticeship at my local hospital as a clinical support worker.

When I started my apprenticeship at the hospital, it rapidly changed into being a 48 bedded adult surgical COVID ward with medical supplies stations. I worked there for about a year and I loved it. I worked on the floor of a 12 bed ward with one nurse. It was my responsibility to answer buzzes, answering the telephone, keep on top of the paperwork as well as being called to do intentional branding, which is where you go round checking on your patients to see if they are in any pain and how to resolve it. The reaction that people had towards me showed me that this job was definitely for me. I was assured that I was doing the right thing when working on the ward, doing what I'm on this planet to do, to help people. I decided to quit my job on the ward for the purpose of being able to be more flexible and work in other areas within the hospital. I did stints on the renal unit, on the Gastroenterology unit, pre-op assessment and then I then found my current home in Children's Emergency Department.

I had interviews at BCU and received two conditional offers for the Bachelor of Science Adult Nursing and Adult Nursing with foundation year. I originally planned to do adult nursing and then at the end of my first year, there were spaces to step on to the MSci Adult and Child Nursing degree which I was accepted on. One of the sisters on theChildren's Emergency Department initially said to me that I would change my degree to be both adult and children's nursing after working on this ward, and she was right!

I found it fascinating seeing the things that the nurses could do in no time at all, whether it be taking bloods, fitting cannulas or ECGs. I find it fascinating to watch nurses in action and I hope to one day be as integrated as they are on the ward. I'm fortunate to have that bit of extra knowledge from my placement which means I have been able to help others on my course. There was an emergency scenario my first placement and one student who I was working with panicked, and I was able to step in to help.

In my own time, I have hobbies which are totally different to my work and studies. I am Station Director of Scratch Radio and plan to do some sort of charitable concert in the future, which I am really excited about. I also volunteer at Black Radio and at Time Centers, who run the Black Country toy appeal at Christmas for disadvantaged children. My dad has an allotment where he keeps honey bees, so I help with the keeping of our hives and harvesting of the honey. Similarly to my degree and work in the hospital, my hobbies are always providing me with things to learn and opportunities to do things that I otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to do.  

Coming to university has made me more independent and I have become more confident in my own abilities. I've always been somebody that will help people and I have been able to do that by embracing new opportunities. If you told me five years ago that I would be stood in my shoes, working in nursing and having all these brilliant opportunities, I would have completely laughed at you. I need to look back more and think, wow, look how much you have done.

I AM BCU means to have faith in your abilities and potential. To be willing to nurture your work ethic to get to where you want to be in life.’