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Cara Sturgess BN (Hons) Nursing: Mental Health , 2017

Nurse Practitioner

Cara Sturgess's Photo

Hi, I am Cara Sturgess and I studied BN (Hons) Nursing: Mental Health at the University of Southampton.

"Winning the Cavell Trust Award was a huge highlight for me, as was finishing my course with a first. I also won a Dean's List Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in 2015 after achieving over 70% in all assignments, and I also won a further Dean's List Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in 2017 for achieving the highest academic performance in the year, which I was really proud of."

Why did choose to come and study at Southampton? 

A number of my colleagues had studied at Southampton and had gone on to have successful careers, both locally and nationally. Southampton also placed highly in the league tables which was appealing to me. 

What is your current role and employer?

Nurse Practitioner, Specialist CAMHS Urgent Assessment and Home Treatment Service (Sussex Partnership NHS Trust) 

What were your Southampton ‘highlights’?

I had a good variety of placements which has been of great benefit to me as it allowed me to expand my knowledge in a lot of different areas. I also found that doing independent research for assignments allowed me to focus that knowledge in areas that I was most interested in learning about.

What other activities did you take advantage of while at University?  

I applied for and won the Cavell Nurses Trust Outstanding Student Nurse of the Year award in 2016. This allowed me to travel to the Philippines and work there for a month for my elective placement in August 2016. 

I also attended the Future Mental Health Nurses conference which was really interesting to be a part of. 

What did you enjoy most about your course?  

I enjoyed the opportunities I had to develop myself as a leader, in both practical and theoretical areas of the course. I also enjoyed being able to talk to my peers about their experiences and giving and receiving advice about any hurdles we had come across.  

How did your time at Southampton help you to grow as a person and help you get to where you are now? 

I learnt a lot about myself as a practitioner by adapting my own style of leadership and delivery of care from those I had worked with in practice throughout my placements. I also had the freedom to explore my passion further through my assignments – working with children and adolescents – which helped me to have a good knowledge base when I started my first role as a registered nurse.  

What advice would you give to a student starting their degree at Southampton? 

I would say be prepared to work hard and to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. There are so many opportunities to expand your knowledge and your CV. There is so much to learn no matter what your background is, make the most of the time that you're a student, and use that time to find your passion and follow it. 





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