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The “Wee Student Nurse”

Leona in her OU student nurse uniform standing in front of a wooden door.

Leona is studying an Adult Nursing degree with The Open University.  A mum of 3 boys, she has her hands full juggling the demands of working as a Child Health Assistant in the Public Health Nursing Team in the Northern Trust, studying for her degree and looking after her family.  Leona’s story is similar to that of the majority of our dedicated OU nursing students.  All work for the health trusts across Northern Ireland and manage life’s other commitments whilst studying for their degree. 

Leona worked in a travel agent and when her mother-in-law, who was also her childminder, passed away with a terminal illness, Leona began to rethink what she was doing in life.  She was being made redundant from her job and so considered pursuing a career as a classroom assistant so she could manage her work around her 3 boys.  She returned to study a level 3 qualification in childcare development at her local college.  She later started working for SureStart which led her into her current role working in the community as a Child Health Assistant.  

A colleague she worked with first introduced Leona to the OU nursing programme as she herself was on her final year of the programme. Leona looked at what the OU programmer offered and decided to apply. She was successful and is now on her way to completing an Adult Nursing Degree. 

Speaking about her experience so far as an OU student nurse Leona says, “I feel that I actually enjoy studying.  I have been given personal growth and my self-esteem has grown, becoming more confident in my own right as I am pushed out of my comfort zone daily, giving me the chance to develop new skills, focus, creativity, pace and drive. And being referred to as the ‘wee student nurse’ has taken some getting used to!” 

“Studying online with the OU fits into my life.  Working and raising a family of 3 boys.  I can be flexible with my structure and gain access anywhere.  My study planner allows me time to prepare.  My husband has been so supportive, allowing me to study and he takes on the household chores.” 

“I have loved the experience so far, being given the opportunity to study and gain valuable clinical skills, working on various wards for my practical placements and meeting all kinds of people.  It has taught me determination, resilience and strength.  I feel great confidence when I have passed my assignments and am ready for the next one.” 

For those thinking about becoming a nurse, Leona has this advice; “Go for it!  I have just turned 40 and it’s never too late.  Nothing in life is easy but you are continually growing every day.  It’s so rewarding, and you will benefit the rewards.” 

If you are interested in starting your Nursing career then you can find more information on our website here:  


For media enquiries:

Contact Christine Murphy

Communications Manager
Tel 028 9053 6219