Brian Forsyth

Charge Nurse and Emergency Nurse Practitioner at the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Diploma in Higher Education Nursing 2002

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Are you glad you came to GCU and why? 

University was possibly the most fun three years of my life. I decided to study at GCU because the nursing course had an amazing reputation and it was in my home city of Glasgow. 

I think some of the best times were when we went out as a class to celebrate passing exams or running around the city trying to get our paperwork signed off at the last minute. I met some friends who will always be in my life no matter how long it is between seeing each other. 

The course prepared me for being a nurse, plus every tutor and lecturer was amazing. I think the reason I enjoyed my time at GCU was that it very well organised. The lectures and tutorials were always on time and in the rooms stated, plus the objectives of each module and the coursework were always set out clearly. 

My experience of other universities made me so glad I completed my undergraduate study at GCU because I don’t think I would have passed the course if I wasn’t in such a well organised and encouraging learning environment. 

How has your degree helped you?

Since leaving GCU, I’ve been working as a nurse in the emergency department at Manchester Royal Infirmary and Salford Royal Infirmary. As my career has been in accident and emergency, the vast majority of my post-qualifying study has been based on emergency nursing. 

Some of my biggest achievements have been completing courses in autonomous practice. Now my job role involves working as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP). This involves working alongside our medical colleagues assessing, diagnosing, ordering and interpreting X-rays as well as organising treatment plans for patients. 

When I started working as a junior nurse, ENP’s where relatively new to emergency departments and my goal was to become one. Once I had achieved this, I wanted to do more. I went on to complete a postgraduate certificate which involved further clinical examination modules. 

Now I work as an ENP who can see patients with both minor injuries and minor illnesses - which is one of many day-to-day roles an emergency nurse. The job is challenging, rewarding and humbling all at the same time. One second, you may be assisting with the delivery of a baby and the next, be stitching a wound together or providing a patient with a cup of tea and some toast. You see the best and worst in people and that makes you thankful for your health, friends and family. Every day you learn something new, even after 15 years. 

What advice would you give to current students and new graduates?

Where do I begin? The best piece of advice I can impart, especially for student nurses, is that there is always something new to learn on every placement. 

If you go to an area and meet someone who treats you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable then learn never to treat other people in the same way. I had one placement where the ward manager didn’t believe that men should be nurses and would refer to me as ‘boy student’ and click her fingers at me. I vowed I would never treat a student in this way. 

One other piece of advice I have is that if you are having any issues which may affect your work talk to your personal tutor as soon as possible. They, believe it or not, want you to pass and want you to do well. Listen to the advice they have and follow it.

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