Bethany Dennis stands in one of our mock hospital wards in her BCU nursing uniform

Bethany Dennis

Child Nursing - BSc (Hons)

Beth has always gone above and beyond to make a difference in children’s healthcare. She knew that BCU’s placement opportunities could help her become the best nurse possible and pursue her passion for helping young people.

“Child Nursing isn’t just a career for me, it’s a calling. I’ve always had an interest in healthcare but what really kick-started my passion for children’s healthcare was a volunteering role working with children with complex needs. I instantly fell in love with the role and took on more volunteering opportunities in the evenings and weekends. I volunteered there for seven years and learned so much, especially about accessibility and health inequalities. I knew I wanted to make a real difference and get involved further. 

When I was 16 years old, I joined YPAG (Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Young Person Advisory Group). YPAG is a group of patients, ex-patients, family members of patients, and interested members of the community who want to make a difference in young people’s healthcare in Birmingham. This group completely changed my life and has allowed me to make a real difference to others. Through the role, I have become involved in the NHS and it inspired me further to become a nurse and make a change within the sector.

I worked hard in my exams to achieve the high grades I needed to become a nurse and began looking into different universities. BCU was always my first choice because of its outstanding facilities and connections with Birmingham Children’s Hospital. My brother was a patient at Birmingham Children's Hospital for a few years and I knew it was a world-leading children’s hospital that could offer me experience in lots of different specialities.

Starting university wasn’t easy for me. For a few years before starting the degree, I struggled with my mental health. Even though I was undergoing treatment for this, I was desperate to start my training to become a nurse and used that as a motivation to choose recovery, so I could help other young people.

I wasn’t able to move into accommodation straight away due to still being too unwell with my mental health, but I did eventually move in a little later than everyone else. I’m so glad I still did it! It was great for my independence and for making new friends.

Even though it was a bit of a slow start to my course, I love everything about my time at BCU so far, particularly the placement opportunities. I’ve learnt so much from all of my placements but the final placement of my second year has been the highlight of my course. It was in the paediatric intensive care ward; the placement was challenging at times but so rewarding. I left the placement feeling like I had made a difference, given it my all and stood up for what was right.  It has given me so much more knowledge and awareness that no other children’s hospital can offer.

Thanks to BCU’s connection with Birmingham Children’s Hospital, I was able to secure a role as a clinical support worker (CSW) at the hospital. This means I can work extra shifts around my placement and lectures. I’ve always been a busy person and been involved in healthcare work in my free time, so these extra shifts are something I really enjoy and they’re helping boost my confidence further.

I know that the combination of expert teaching at BCU and vital experience at Birmingham Children’s Hospital has provided me with the skills and confidence to not only become a nurse but also to become a nurse who makes a real difference to young people and healthcare.

I’m proud to wear my BCU student nursing uniform and to be able to say ‘I am BCU’."