As a mature student, making the decision to change career felt like a really big one! I knew I wanted to work in healthcare, but I was so unsure what path I wanted to take. Until one day, whilst looking at career options on the NHS website I stumbled across Operating Department Practitioner.
I had never heard of an ODP before, but the role sounded so exciting. Further research led me to the ARU website where I learnt more about the ODP role. That was it, I was sold! The thought of being able to support a patient throughout the entire surgical journey sounded perfect for me.
I started looking into my options and eventually I started applying. Choosing the right university was another big decision! I had my interviews and received three offers from different universities, including ARU. At first, I felt very torn, but there were a few things that really swayed me towards ARU.
Firstly, I attended a walking tour of the university and got the see the facilities, including the skills lab. The skills lab filled me with excitement and I was instantly imagining myself in scrubs there.
Secondly, I joined an online Q&A session with current students and lecturers. I was really pleased to see that some of the students were also mature students and learning that the lecturers had also been mature students put me at ease. The lecturers felt so friendly, relaxed and completely honest with anything I asked!
The last thing that swayed me was the Cambridge location. Even though I was taking my career change seriously, I also knew there would be a social element to student life, and I thought there is no better place to socialise than Cambridge! Cambridge is great because it appeals to those that want to enjoy the student club nights and the people like me that want to enjoy the more relaxed side of the city.
I am now halfway through my second year and I am already starting to think about what I would like to do when I qualify. Truth is, I am still undecided.
I am enjoying each area of the role so much, it just feels impossible to choose. However, I feel incredibly lucky that I have a great placement location and I hope that I can work here when I qualify to develop my skills further.
The lecturers have been great in reminding me to just enjoy my training for now! They are also great at advising all the different avenues I can explore when I qualify, whilst sharing their own experiences.
For now, I am just enjoying every minute of it and will leave the next big decision for the end of my third year!