Alisha Carter, a final-year student nurse, has responded to the Government’s appeal to start her nursing practice early to support the NHS in the fight against Covid-19. Alisha, an alumna of Richmond School and Sixth Form College, completed her A-levels in 2017 and is currently in her final year as a student paediatric nurse on the highly-sought-after BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Child) course atTeesside University’s School of Health & Life Sciences.

Alisha volunteered to help on the front line during the Covid-19 crisis and has been deployed to the James Cook University Hospital where she is working as a Band 4 Aspirant Neonatal Nurse. This opportunity will enable Alisha to put her skills into practice and contribute much-needed support, whilst gaining experience, being a great asset to the NHS and making a difference to those she cares for.

Alisha is in her last six months of study and is due to qualify in September. She jumped at the opportunity to help and is delighted with her new role.  Alisha said: “During my second year, I found a passion for neonatal nursing. Seeing the difference you make to families is extremely rewarding and I quickly realised this is the area where my heart is. I have been extremely fortunate to be placed at the Neonatal Unit at James Cook for my extended placement. It has all happened very quickly and after a full-day induction I started my clinical shifts. It is very exciting, but quite daunting too however, I am fortunate that I have already completed a 9-week placement on the unit, so I know the routine and the amazing team I am working with”.

Alisha attended Richmond School for her full secondary education and after her GCSEs she went on to study a double award in Health and Social Care along with Psychology, achieving three As at A-level. Highly regarded by her peers and staff alike, Alisha was always respected for her ability to relate to others.  Alongside her studies, Alisha used her initiative and following a careers visit at school by a Manager from Boots, she secured part-time work at the Catterick Branch of Boots, where she extended her warm personality and natural ability to communicate in society. This in turn increased her self-confidence and independence, both excellent transferable skills for her nursing career.

Whilst at college, Alisha attended a 3-day work experience placement on paediatrics at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and this reinforced her passion for child nursing. She also attended a Discovery Day at Teesside University’s School of Health and Life Sciences.

Caroline Dawson, Lead Teacher for Health and Social Care, commented: “I taught Alisha Health and Social Care at GCSE and A-level.  She learned to use her initiative and developed independence and resilience throughout her sixth-form studies. Always interested and hard-working, Alisha faced up to her responsibilities and persisted in overcoming challenges. Through sheer hard work and dedication, she achieved three As and I was delighted that she secured one of the limited places available for Child Nursing at Teesside University.  I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to support and influence Alisha and I am immensely proud that she is stepping up to help in the fight against Covid-19. I know she will quickly become a valued part of the neonatal team.”

During Alisha’s first year at University she wrote an article ‘When the unthinkable happens’, for the Royal College of Nursing Student Magazine which was published online at https://www.rcn.org.uk/magazines/students/2018/when-the-unthinkable-happens and chosen as one of the few articles to be released in the printed issue, another example of how she communicates and shares her learning for the benefit of others.

Alisha was also a student ambassador for Teesside University where her role involved promoting the university and talking to primary and secondary-aged students about the role of a nurse.  Alisha is looking forward to returning to Richmond Sixth Form College to share her experiences of nursing and mentor students who are considering a profession in healthcare.