Charlotte Smith

Learning Disability Nursing - BSc (Hons)

Charlotte never believed she would be able to go to university because of her dyslexia, so she just went straight into being a teaching assistant at a special school. While she was there, she started to study for a child care qualification and is currently studying to become a Learning Disability Nurse. During her time at BCU, she is the first person to be a dyslexia ambassador at the only university with dyslexia accreditation in the UK. 

"Someone in the careers team at the college discovered that I care part-time for a child with disabilities, so asked me, “Why don’t you become a learning disability nurse?” This planted a seed in my mind so I decided to apply for the Access course so that I could get to university. 

The staff at the college were not helpful or understanding of my learning difficulty, and told me I would never get into university because I would not pass the entry exams. However, this made me determined and I got four offers from universities.

I put BCU as my first choice and I really wanted be a part of this University because it was dyslexia accredited and I knew I needed help with my study. The University has given me support with my dyslexia through one to one sessions and extra time.

Being at BCU has been a dream come true for me. I never in a million years thought I was able to go to university. It has been hard but so much fun! I would do it all over again and I’m sad in a way that I will be leaving soon. The experience of university has been amazing and I’ve tried to participate in everything I could.

I am proud that I am going to talk at the NETconference 2019 about what it’s like to be a student nurse with dyslexia. I was also part of the Positive Choices learning disability nursing conference – I spoke at the Dublin conference in 2018 and helped host it here at BCU in 2019. I have received an award from the University for my practice. I also help with Brew@HELS – a regular coffee morning for everyone in my faculty - and this helps me feel a part of a team where students and staff work together.

Since coming to BCU, I feel more confident - not that I lacked confidence before, but I feel I have found my voice and people take me more seriously. I do still worry a lot about qualifying but I think this is because it means so much to me. There are still challenges - I failed my last assignment and have to re-sit it. This has made my anxiety really bad because I want to qualify so much.

I am so proud to be a BCU student and would tell anyone to come to this university. I love the feeling of belonging; I feel I am a part of the BCU family. Staff are friendly and want students to succeed, which I never had at college.

To me, ‘I AM BCU’ means that you are part of a community of students and staff who work together to make positive changes."

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