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Chris Smith

Pre-registration Nursing Diploma (Mental Health)

After being made redundant as a retail manager, Chris decided on a change in career and embarked upon the Pre-registration Diploma in Mental Health Nursing. Chris went from giving customers retail therapy to helping people on a more personal level.

“People think that working as a nurse must be totally different to working in retail but many of the personal skills are transferable,” he said. "Obviously as a nurse you’re much more involved with individuals’ needs but good communication skills and the ability to read body language are important aspects in many careers.”

Chris, who left school with only a few qualifications, was initially quite anxious at the prospect of going back into education. “In the past I’d always avoided jobs that involved writing,” he explained. “So to be suddenly faced with the task of producing essays at the age of 40 was extremely daunting. But the more I practiced the better I got and the lecturers were always on hand if you needed to ask for help.”

By his third year Chris was really flying and he won the Lancashire Priory Nursing Award for Pre-registration Mental Health Nursing in his final year. “I enjoyed the course, especially the practical elements like the work placement opportunities.” Since graduating, Chris has worked within the Acute Mental Health Male Admissions Ward at Parkwood and is part of the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team in Blackpool.