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Spotlight on Stacey Finlay

Stacey Finlay is a third year student nurse with the Open University and Domnall Intermediate Care Centre. She is a finalist at this year’s Student Nursing Times Awards, in the category of Student Nurse of the Year.

So, I am a Final Year Nursing Student starting my final placement in ten days’ time – but when I began my career I thought about becoming a nurse. I started working for Four Seasons Health Care as a Care Assistant in Domnall Intermediate Care Centre in 2009, planning to get a year’s experience under my belt before heading off to study Social Work. However, after spending some time at Four Seasons, I quickly set my sights on a career as a nurse instead. At Domnall Intermediate Care Centre, I saw how Social Workers, Doctors, Physiotherapists and Pharmacists all came together to work alongside our nurses in an attempt to deliver holistic care to our residents. All of these multidisciplinary team members played a pivotal role in ensuring our residents had a good quality of life while they underwent rehabilitation.

It was the role of the nurse that I fell in love with. When it is the middle of the night and a resident felt scared, alone or wasn’t able to sleep, it’s was the nurse that is there. In fact it was the nurse who was always there! I loved my role as a care assistant and the idea of being there for someone at their highest and lowest points, to be a little bit of light in their darkest hour, really appealed to me. These experiences at Domnall Intermediate Care Centre, coupled with the mentorship and support of senior colleagues, inspired me to become a nurse.

In 2010 I began my journey to become a nurse. It was only in October 2014 that I became an Open University Student Nurse. The first four years of my journey saw me complete my NVQ’s level two and three in Health and Social Care, attend countless training sessions in my own time and when I discovered the Open University programme I thought it was a perfect fit. But at that time, the programme was only available to NHS employees. I was supported by Four Seasons Health Care to overcome these barriers through direct support from my home manager, regional manager, head of HR and managing director among many more.

While Four Seasons Health Care began to collaborate with the Open University, I began to study and completed three out of seven modules of my nursing degree – while continuing to work full-time. By the time I was undertaking my nurse training; I had become a senior care assistant and was one of the first students from FSHC who was enrolled in the Open University nurse degree programme. I was able to move into stage two of the programme due to my previous study.

In 2017, I was so honoured to be nominated by FSHC for the Student Nursing Times Awards. To be a finalist in the student nurse of the year category was really unexpected and I am proud to represent student nurses who take a less conventional route. Being awarded Student Nurse of the Year would be a lovely cherry on top of the cake, but the fact that a new path to nursing has been forged for staff in the private sector is something I am most proud of being a part of. I want to say thank you to all those individuals who have supported me on this journey. After seven years of pursuit, I look forward to being able to say I am a registered nurse is more than good enough for me!

Date published: 15 September 2017

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