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This is a guest blog by Jamie-Lee Russell, studying BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing at BU’s Yeovil Nursing Campus.

My name is Jamie-Lee Russell, I am 26 years old and study Adult Nursing as a full-time student at the Yeovil Campus in Somerset. University was something that was never on the cards for me leaving school. However, in 2019 after a long and brutal 10 months, I lost my mum to cancer. Up until then , I had always worked in retail, but losing my mum came  to a turning point in my life. I realised I wanted to do more, be more ,and give back to other people the way the nursing staff had to mum and our family. I was inspired. My journey began with research on NHS careers, talking to family who were already qualified or working in care and trolling through my GCSE certificates.

selfie of student Jamie-leeI had been out of education since 2015, so I really felt clueless when the decision came to apply to university. I spent hours reading up on websites, talking to past students, and looking at reviews. Submitting the UCAS application was easy (once I’d written the personal statement!), but deciding where to go wasn’t, that is until I found out that Bournemouth had a campus in Yeovil! I live in Taunton, and at the time the Nursing course had been suspended for some years so this wasn’t an option. Being 26, married, living independently with my husband and our cats, moving into halls wasn’t an option (or appealing!) to me at all, so when I realised that commuting to Yeovil was an option, things started to feel real, that this was actually on the cards for me.

front of Yeovil Campus buildingSeeing the campus in person it was easy to see that this was different from your ‘typical university’. It’s small and quaint, but homely. The first time I stepped foot through the doors, everything was so easy to find, and the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. The rooms are a nice size and capable of holding up to around 50 odd students. That was much less scary to me. The small and quaint style of the university gives it that special family feel. Your lecturers get to know you personally, and vice versa. That really made a difference for me in terms of confidence and support. I feel comfortable at Yeovil approaching any one of the staff members with anything on my mind.

There is full access to the library at the local hospital, and anything at the BU campuses if we wish. So far our lessons have been a blend of online learning and in person lectures. This has been useful as it means Yeovil students still get to meet and have lessons with lecturers based at BU, as well as socialise and meet virtually with students on other nursing courses, all without travelling to Bournemouth itself!

So far I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Yeovil campus and would recommend it to anyone local who is thinking of a career in Nursing. I have made a wonderful group of friends at Yeovil, some that I know will be friends for life. The lecturers have also been extremely welcoming, supportive and approachable about anything and everything, not just in lessons, but with placement support too.

In fact one of the things I’d loved the most is the personalised feel I have had with placements. At Yeovil the placement staff have been dedicated to trying to make placement arrangements as easy as possible for students. For me, my placement locality is Somerset, however living in Taunton the staff have been able to accommodate my placements being based in and around Taunton, such as Musgrove Park Hospital instead of Yeovil District Hospital. This has really helped ease the pressure of starting placement, which can already be a stressful experience to students.

At Yeovil the support and opportunities are all around you, all you have to do is put yourself out there.

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