A newly qualified mental health nurse from Preston said she was “given a second chance” to achieve her ambitions by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan)
A newly qualified mental health nurse from Preston said she was “given a second chance” to achieve her ambitions by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Angie Gudgeon, from Broadgate in the city centre, swapped a career in retail management to begin a mental health nursing degree at the University in 2020 and is now celebrating success at her UCLan graduation ceremony.
The 31-year-old took the plunge whilst furloughed during the pandemic after leaving school with no GCSEs and feeling let down by the education system.
“I came from a council estate with no money and a poor education experience” Angie said. “My mum struggled with her mental health and I supported her from a young age. I was 16 with no hope for the future and never in my life expected I could and would become a nurse.
“I chose mental health because I want to use my experience to help others. I have always been around mental health issues and with having anxiety myself, felt I already had some skills suited to the role.”
"It’s been difficult but I have absolutely loved my journey at UCLan and I can’t thank the teaching staff on my course enough"— New UCLan graduate Angie Gudgeon
Angie, who grew up in Kingsfold in Penwortham, knew the career change from retail, where she’d worked since leaving school, would be a big challenge and juggled her studies with managing a shoe shop once Covid restrictions started to ease.
Angie studied online to gain her GCSE maths qualification before starting on the mental health nursing degree at UCLan and worked at the University’s Covid Testing Centre and as a healthcare support worker during her studies to earn money.
She said: “It’s been difficult but I have absolutely loved my journey at UCLan and I can’t thank the teaching staff on my course enough.
“Even though it was daunting at times, I really enjoyed my time on placement. I loved working with people and making a difference and it was whilst on placement that I found my passion for older adult nursing.”
"I feel amazing and emotional. It’s definitely one of my biggest achievements and I have finally found my calling"— Mental health nursing graduate Angie Gudgeon
Angie achieved her career ambition whilst dealing with the challenges that come with her dyslexia, anxiety and being on the autistic spectrum. She is now working as a mental health nurse for Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust on a female older adult ward at The Harbour in Blackpool, where she supports patients with acute mental health conditions and complex care needs.
She said: “I have started my nursing job on a ward I absolutely love. I adore all my patients and have built some great therapeutic relationships with them. We support our patients to build skills for the future when struggling with mental health and put them on the road to recovery so they can be supported at home by community mental health teams.”
Speaking about graduating, Angie added: “I feel amazing and emotional. It’s definitely one of my biggest achievements and I have finally found my calling.
“I am proud of my life experiences and without them I don’t think I’d be a mental health nurse. I want to show people that even if you have personal challenges, additional needs, or if things just don’t pan out how you thought, if you are willing to put the work in then you can achieve anything.”