The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Cara Sturgess BN (Hons) Bachelor of Nursing (Mental Health), 2017

Third Year Student and 'Outstanding Student Nurse' Cavell Nurses' Trust Award Winner 2016

Cara Sturgess's Photo

Hi, I'm Cara Sturgess and I'm currently studying Mental Health Nursing at the University of Southampton.

I’ve always been ambitious, but until I got to Southampton, I didn’t realise just how many career options there are available within nursing. There’s definitely more I want to get out of my career than I had previously thought possible.

I chose to study here because the Faculty of Health Sciences had such a good reputation amongst my colleagues working in the health profession. I joined the NHS when I was 18 years old as a support worker, and I’ve been working my way up to University since then. I’m on secondment from my job with the Southern Health Trust, and I’m fortunate that I can return to the Trust in a new role when I graduate.

What’s great about Southampton’s course is the learning structure.; you learn some theory, then experience a placement to back up what you’ve learnt, and then bring this learning back into the lecture room.

The work placements are all so different too which means I’ve gained experience in many different areas of nursing. The placement I enjoyed the most was an adult forensics role – I just learnt so much so quickly. Placements themselves can be daunting, but equally good.

What I’m most proud of is winning a Cavell Nurses' Trust award which means I’ve been able to fund a four week placement in the Philippines. Mental health options abroad can be so limited compared to the care available in the UK and other Western countries. I’'ve made the most out of this opportunity to: develop my CV, share and exchange knowledge with my peers, and bring this knowledge back to Southampton.

There’s a lot of emphasis here on developing leadership skills and encouragement to get the best out of yourself that you can do. My long term ambition is to progress through a clinical career working within children and adolescent mental health nursing, and then into research.

Life as a Nursing Student

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'I chose to study here because the Faculty of Health Sciences had such a good reputation amongst my colleagues working in the health profession'
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Cara was recognised for her care, compassion and competence with an 'Outstanding Student Nurse' Cavell Nurses' Trust Award in May 2016
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Cara's 'Outstanding Student Nurse' scholarship funded a four week placement in the Philippines, where she worked in the Department of Psychiatry at the Western Visayas Medical Centre
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