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Adventures in healthcare: what a nursing graduate did next

Livi Rees

Taking care of people and finding ways to make a difference in their lives has always satisfied me, so choosing to study nursing at ARU felt like the obvious way to embark on a career where I could make a difference – every single day. It couldn’t have been a better choice for me and I quickly embraced everything about becoming a nurse.

In my second year I helped to set up a Student Community First Responder (SCFR) scheme with some medical students in Cambridge. The charitable project is only the second of its kind in the UK, and uses an innovative model, combining student healthcare professionals with traditional Community First Responders (all on a volunteer basis and trained for the role). Members of the SCFR team are stationed at strategic stand-by locations across Cambridge, ready to be dispatched by the Emergency Operations Centre, and consequently provide a faster response to people with life-threatening conditions. We are able to deliver life-sustaining treatment to the point of handover to the paramedics with the East of England Ambulance Service.

It feels incredibly rewarding to know that my work as a Cambridge SCFR volunteer has helped save lives in my local community – these are the moments when I feel so proud of my profession. People don’t think of nursing as a field in which you can be enterprising, but this kind of scheme proves that the caring professions have just as much scope for the entrepreneurial-minded as any other!

I’ve really felt like the University invested in me, helping me to make the most out of what I have to give.

One of the things I love about nursing is that there are no borders – it involves skills that are needed globally, not just locally and a nurse will always be able to apply learned knowledge in new and ever-practical ways. I saw this firsthand on our ARU International Community Experience trip to Botswana, where I volunteered at a school for children with visual impairments. We helped with all sorts of things, ranging from physical work in improving the buildings at the school, to developing a new room to be used as a sick bay.

ARU has supported me so much throughout the experience, providing me with the training I needed to become a student representative for my faculty and the confidence to volunteer my services. I’ve really felt like the university invested in me, helping me to make the most out of what I have to give.

In my third year I was so proud to win two awards, the Cavell Nurses Trust Community Award and an ARU Vice Chancellor’s Student Leadership Award. I used the award money to fund a trip to Bolivia where I volunteered as a nurse at a paediatric burns hospital. An experience beyond description…

Since graduating I’ve landed a job in a neurological critical care unit and now I’m even considering studying for a Masters degree. For me, nursing doesn’t just make a difference to the lives of patients every single day, it makes a difference to mine.

Livi Rees studied nursing at ARU.

Our students specialise in adult, child or mental health nursing and, as graduates, might choose to work in hospitals or out in the community like Livi. Come along to our next Open Day and explore the career paths that are open to you.