Case study

From working to Clearing to studying - Claire's dramatic month

Claire Brown was working in the care sector when she decided to apply through Clearing for our BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing degree. Within a month, she had begun her studies at our historic Chesterfield site. She is now a fully registered nurse working in respiratory medicine at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. 

Why choose Derby?

Derby was the only university Claire considered for her nursing degree. She had begun a different degree at the University of Derby ten years previously. Circumstances at that time meant that she did not finish the course.

Claire explains: “I had always worked within the care sector on and off since I was 17 years old. I first started off in a nursing home for people with learning difficulties, then my last job before I started my degree was on a respiratory ward in an acute setting. This was a challenging role. However, I found where I was supposed to be. And I found the University to be welcoming and supportive and so I applied only to Derby for the Adult Nursing degree.”

She applied in late August for our Adult Nursing course after realising that she would still qualify for additional funding available to certain healthcare students, despite having started a degree in another subject.

She is now developing her nursing career even further and hopes to study a PhD in nursing with a focus on patient safety.

A variety of placements

During her degree, Claire undertook various placements at Chesterfield Royal Hospital on various wards and clinics, Nottingham Hospital and in the community in the Peak District. Each placement gave her different exposures to caring for patients.

She says: “In each of my placements, I took away a great deal of knowledge and understanding. I found that the more exposure you had to things, such as medication rounds, which is a major part of nursing, the more you learned regarding the medications and their numerical values.

“University prepared you for the theory and evidence base behind what you do as a nurse but it’s not until you actually do it for real that you fully learn, as each supervisor you work alongside on placement has different skills and expertise to learn from.”

Publishing research

In her final year, Claire researched the subject of blood transfusion errors for her dissertation. She is now in the process of having two articles - written with her Independent Study supervisor, Michelle Brown, Head of Discipline Adult Nursing - published in the British Journal of Nursing.

Claire explains: “I chose blood transfusion errors as I had worked for the blood and transplant team throughout the summer, collecting convalescent plasma to aid the recovery of covid patients. That sparked my interest in blood products.

“I had heard of errors in transfusion although never witnessed one and it just made me think about the patients and errors like that should never happen and can totally be prevented if policy and procedures are carried out in full. I’m hoping to go into patient safety and quality improvement roles in the future so having my work published will benefit me in my future career.”

Overcoming challenges

Claire credits the teaching team at Derby for pushing her to succeed. She says: “During my time at University, I overcome many challenges throughout my three years. I nearly didn’t make it through the first year and, if it wasn’t for the academics rooting for me and offering support, I wouldn’t have got through it at all.

“They were all very encouraging especially when I was ill throughout my third year, which meant me falling behind with my work and placements. It was hard work and I had to extend my studies, but I finally graduated with the rest of my cohort which I never thought I would do.

“When you get to the end of the three years and you get your certificate and NMC PIN number, you feel immensely proud of yourself and, at the end of it, you get to look after people when they need you the most, which is an amazing privilege.

Claire Brown

The University of Derby is a great university. You get to know all the tutors and they are always there to offer support if you need it. Nursing as a career is hard work but is so worth it when you get to help people at their most vulnerable state.

Claire Brown
BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult)