Continuing our Meet the Professionals series, we recently attended the alumni event arranged for our graduates from nursing courses here at Manchester and met some truly incredible people.
After more than 30 years in nursing, Marie Holder retired in December of 2018 and even now, she still spends her time helping others, whether that be children or other communities around her local area. During her time at Manchester, she studied not one but two postgraduate courses with us – here’s what she had to say about them…
I came to Manchester in 2005 as an already qualified practice nurse looking to do a postgraduate course that would allow me to gain clinical examination skills and work towards becoming a nurse practitioner in general practice. From day one, I absolutely loved it. Although it was very full-on, I did two days in work and two days in university, which meant the workload was more than manageable.
As the course was focused on the clinical side of things, I got to do a lot of practical stuff alongside the necessary academia: we got to work on mannequins; we went out and got experience on different wards and, obviously, continued to develop through my job at the time, which was looking after in-patients in The Robert Derbyshire Practice at Rusholme Health Centre.
This was helpful as that particular site is ran by The University of Manchester and that meant that I had some continuity between work and study, which also allowed me to move on to the Nurse Prescribing course (now known as Independent Prescribing) soon after, so my time at Manchester all helped me build towards my wider career in nursing.
The modules I took across the two postgrad courses I studied ranged from clinical examination to research and communication; practice development and all the way up to healthcare promotion. Underpinning that, I had a fantastic GP mentor for two years who was invaluable to me – very supportive and encouraging throughout.
In my most recent job, I worked in primary care and although I didn’t get to cram every skill I learned across the two courses into what would often be a 10-minute appointment, I was felt like I was able to bring that knowledge in and tweak things depending on the situation. Whilst I was still studying, I was still working as a nurse practitioner in the GP’s surgery: examining patients on the day with acute symptoms and yet undiagnosed concerns, as well as going on to prescribe or refer them.
As I continued to develop my skills, I was able to do much more and went on to do this role for many more years, before managing to take this experience back home to Bury and work in the out-of-hours GP, carry out home visits and even do telephone triage. This was a really good set-up – I got to do a bit of everything and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Having recently retired, I feel I’ve earned a good long relax and more than a few holidays! In the meantime, however, I’ve been doing a lot of voluntary work with the homeless in my local areas and I also do a lot of support work with children in foster care – I even teach them to swim!
In terms of tips for new students, I would encourage people to have a strong work ethic from the start and take opportunities wherever they arise – I didn’t always know exactly where I wanted to go in my career. Be flexible and open to change, as nursing is a field that is constantly changing and try to keep updated—my first role as a nurse practitioner didn’t even exist until the year I started it—so push the boundaries and remember, a job is what you make of it.