Lily Bowdler

Adult and Mental Health Nursing – MSci

Lily’s mental health meant she had to take an unexpected break from her studies. After taking the time she needed, she’s able to take advantage of all BCU has to offer. She’s achieving top grades, excelling in her placements and positively impacting the mental health of other students. 

“I’ve known from a young age that I had a desire to work within the healthcare sector due to my personal experiences receiving care and my passion for helping others. However, my journey has not always been smooth sailing. During my first year of study, I experienced mental health issues which meant I could not study to the best of my ability and I decided the best thing to do was to take a break from university.

It was a scary time. I felt like a failure stepping away from university after only a few months of starting, but both my personal tutor and the wellbeing team supported me through this time. They helped me to understand all of the options available and offered me continuous support even during my 10-month break. There was never any judgement from them, and I could get an appointment to speak to someone at any time.

When I returned to BCU to restart my first year, I was nervous, but I made some changes that improved my experience. For example, I moved into student accommodation as I’d previously found commuting really difficult. I look back at my break from university now in a positive way, as since returning, I’ve being able to put myself forward for opportunities within the university, develop my independence and enjoy the whole university experience.

I was excited to be back, because from the first time I visited BCU at an Open Day, I just knew I wanted to study here. The facilities on offer here are so realistic and are continuously being developed so that they’re in line with current practices. My favourite part of being a healthcare student at BCU is being able to use SPACE (Skills Practice and Care Enhancement), where I’ve been able to attend workshops on topics such as stoma care, manual blood pressure and anaphylaxis to improve my skills and knowledge. I also go to SPACE to practice my skills I’ll need on placement, like my injection technique and cannulation.

I’ve been able to make the most of the placement hours on my course in a range of settings including community district nursing, eating disorders and forensic services. These placements have given me exposure to the nursing role for different client groups and learn skills such as being able to work both autonomously and within a multidisciplinary team, as well as adapting my approach to meet the needs of the situation at hand whether this be a patient in severe pain or in mental distress.

One of the goals I want to achieve by the time I finish university is to feel more confident and improve my public speaking skills, as this is something I will need to do in my job on a daily basis. I feel I have almost achieved this through completing handover on placement, doing presentations as part of my university modules and working as a student ambassador speaking in front of larger groups of people.

My confidence has also improved thanks to living in university accommodation, it made it really easy to make friends and mix with people from different courses. I’ve also met lots of people through student ambassador work and societies. Plus, I’m an inclusivity ambassador for my faculty, focusing on mental health. I help talk to students for their input on what affects their mental health at university, whether positively or negatively, and make changes that will benefit the students’ mental health.

I’m currently halfway through my university degree, despite many changes and challenges, I’ve achieved high grades throughout in both my academic and placement modules and feel that I’m on my way to achieving my goal I have set myself of a first-class degree.

To me, ‘I am BCU’ means opportunity, confidence and individuality.”