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Nurse tending to a patient

Blayne’s path to adult nursing

After making a spur-of-the-moment decision to study history and politics at university, Blayne Coombes realised it wasn't the right choice. Blayne loved working with people and wanted a vocation that offered lots of career options. Here, he tells us about his decision to change his path from 'history and politics' to 'adult nursing', and about his course and placement experiences so far.

“I’m never going to be rich or famous, positive feedback and appreciation drive me. You’ll be faced with everything on the ward and the exposure on placement is amazing!”


Blayne Coombes at Coventry University Nursing Facility

Why nursing?

I panicked because all my friends were going off to university and having these fancy lifestyles, so I applied to do a 'history and politics' course, but it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I know now there’s no real rush to jump into something if you’re not sure.

I decided I wanted to do more of a vocation. I already worked in a vets and loved working with people in stressful situations. I like seeing the differences from person to person and enjoy talking to them. Nursing seemed a good option as it isn’t just a one-way route into hospital – there are so many different things that you can do with it!

Why start in January?

Starting in January suited me better. It allowed me to tie things off with work and give them the proper notice. It meant I could sort out my finances and care for my animals too.
If I’d come straight from school, it wouldn’t have worked as well for me; the January cohort is close and connected with a real mix of people from different stages of their lives.

Getting support and feeling like you belong

After a bad day, you can vent to friends and family, but your peers and lecturers (who are all registered nurses), know exactly what you’re going through without you having to explain everything.

The sense of belonging here is good.

I find that a lot of the staff are responsive to emails and often hang back after lectures to answer questions, which is great.

Then there are the services of the library, academic writing services and lots of guides for various things. I’ve also been able to access the Learning Support Fund from the NHS.

I’d encourage everyone to use the support and ask the university for help.

Real experience on placement

I like the Alison Gingell building; it’s got the mock wards, the surgical theatres and the house settings too.

It’s really helpful to learn in an environment that’s similar to where you’ll be working. You know what the equipment looks like, what it sounds and smells like, so you’re used to that. It’s no use just knowing the theory.

The exposure on placement is amazing! Members of the multi-disciplinary team are passionate about their roles, and they are keen to teach you.

It’s important to remember that you aren’t always doing exciting things in acute settings. I see it as a privilege to be able to help someone with their personal care or assistance at mealtimes – it helps firm up my foundations of nursing.

You’re thrown in at the deep end and expected to help if there’s a crash call on the ward, but if you can provide the slightest bit of comfort to someone, then you’ve done your job for the day.

Coventry University Nursing students practice room

Carving your career in nursing

Nursing is an umbrella term; there’s acute nursing, community nursing, nursing advisors for health and safety companies and non-clinical nursing. I’m using my placements to ‘try before you buy’ and find out what area I’m going to be in.

You’ll never see your name in lights, and you’ll be faced with tears and shouting, crying and laughter all within an hour on a ward, but for me, positive feedback and appreciation really drive me.

If you feel like you can be that person then do it, don’t let any barriers stand in the way because they can always be overcome.
Explore Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare at Coventry University.

Blayne Coombes

Adult Nursing Student

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023