Case study

When Beckie-Lea discussed Mental Health Nursing with the Duchess of Cambridge

It’s an experience Beckie-Lea Fortescue will never forget. Not just meeting the Duchess of Cambridge but having the chance to talk to her about her passion. Beckie dreams of working in forensic mental health and our BSc (Hons) Nursing (Mental Health) degree has prepared her well for her future career.

Life-changing opportunities

Derby always strives to give students opportunities to excel both in the classroom and in other aspects of their life. Becky-Lea’s experience meeting royalty is one she’ll struggle to top.

“I was chosen to represent the second-year Mental Health Nursing students and meet the Duchess of Cambridge to speak about the importance of looking after your mental health, especially given the current situation with the pandemic. This was an amazing experience and one I will never forget!”

Being an applied university, we realise the importance of getting your exposure in the real world. Becky-Lea’s experience on placement has boosted her confidence as a practitioner and helped her decide where she wants to take her career.

“A big part of the course is undertaking placements," she explains. “We are given many opportunities to experience different clinical settings in order to gain additional knowledge and to undertake the skills that we have learned the theory for. These are a valuable part of our learning because they allowed us to determine which aspect of mental health nursing we would like a career in.”

Duchess of Cambridge with nursing student at the University of Derby. Photography credit: Richard Richards
The Duchess of Cambridge came to Derby to speak to our Nursing students. Photography by Richard Richards

Ready for a rewarding career

Beckie-Lea credits the undergraduate degree at the University of Derby for giving her the theoretical understanding and practical skills needed to pursue her dream job.

“In the future, I would love to work in forensic mental health and this degree will give me the theoretical underpinnings and the clinical competencies to allow me to undertake a role within this career.”

Choosing to study here at Derby was an easy decision. “Studying at the Chesterfield Campus fits perfectly as I live locally. Therefore it only takes me a short amount of time to commute. Additionally, the University of Derby are very highly rated and I took this into consideration as well," she says.

 “I have never looked back. It has honestly been the best decision I have ever made. The learning opportunities are incredible, and the facilities and equipment used to increase learning opportunities are out of this world. The opportunities for employment upon completion of the degree are also amazing!”

Aside from the technical and clinical skills, Becky-Lea also credits the University of Derby for helping her to develop as a person, learning lifelong skills along the way.

“I have become a more compassionate individual. I now realise the importance of person-centred care. I have learned skills (both clinical and academic) that not only will help me to gain my career but will also be able to be used in day to day life. I honestly think that undertaking this degree has made me a better person.”

Duchess of Cambridge in mock ward at the University of Derby. Photography credit: Richard Richards
The Duchess of Cambridge with Nursing students in our mock ward. Photography by Richard Richards

Real-world teaching

Many of the courses within the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care college require advanced practical skills and our world-class facilities reflect that.

“The teaching and learning experiences available at the University of Derby are fantastic. The tutors are incredibly supportive and help however they can. Additionally, the learning experiences given by the University are amazing. The clinical suites and immersive interaction simulation suites assist learning to another level and help to build confidence before going out into clinical practice.”

She also highlights the quality of teaching at the university, explaining how supported and inspired she felt learning from our experienced team.

“They give me the motivation to complete my degree to the best of my ability. They are always encouraging students and are very compassionate and committed to their roles which is something that I will illustrate while I am out in practice.”

Beckie-Lea Fortescue

This course is perfect for what I am hoping to achieve and allows me to gain the experience and competencies required for a career in nursing.

Beckie-Lea Fortescue
BSc Nursing (Mental Health)