On Monday morning University of Sunderland student nurse Stacy Humphrey will start her new career at a watershed time in NHS history.
The 22-year-old has just completed her three year Adult Nursing programme and will begin her professional life in Accident and Emergency (A&E) at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Despite the scale of the challenge that awaits her, Stacy, from Fulwell in Sunderland, believes she is ready, and is determined to play her part.
She said: “I know it will be a challenging time but the ethos remains the same – caring and supporting those who most need our help.
“I’m lucky in that I have a huge support network around me; from my family to the lecturers at the University.
“When I start on Monday, I know things will be on a much bigger scale than I expected but, at the end of the day, we are there to care for those most in need. That’s the profession I’ve chosen.”
More than three years ago, Stacy visited the University during an open day and was impressed by the facilities and academics attached to the Nursing programmes.
She said: “The Simulation Suites and the mock hospital wards were amazing, and Sue Brent, who is in charge of the nursing school, was able to answer all my questions.
“As soon as I started the course, I knew I’d made the right decision. My first year placement was in Neuro Rehabilitation at Sunderland Royal and it was so inspiring to be learning on the job.”
Three years on, Stacy, a former pupil at Monkwearmouth School, could never have expected that her career would start at the peak of a worldwide pandemic. But she remains resolute in the principles of her chosen profession.
“It’s always been about making a difference,” she says. “That’s what it comes down to. Nurses make a difference every day, it’s just that now there is more focus on them.
“I expect there will be added pressures but I feel ready to start on Monday and I know it will be a great time of learning for me.”
Stacy is one of almost 40 student nurses from the University of Sunderland preparing to join hospitals across the North east in the coming days, just days after finishing their programme.
The nurses will be working for hospital trusts including, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and South Tyneside, County Durham and Darlington, and North Tees.
Sue Brent, Head of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “We are so proud of all our nurses and their hard work and effort. I’m sure they will make a huge impact in their new roles during this difficult and challenging time for the NHS.
“Thanks must also go to our positive and proactive Undergraduate nursing team, who are wholly committed to delivering high quality, job-ready graduates who will make a real difference to patient care.”