“Don’t let life get you down!”: Gordon Richards journey from hospital bed to hospital ward

Wed, 28 Jul 2021 16:19:00 BST
Gordon is pleased to be part of the GCU community and delighted with the support received
Gordon is pleased to be part of the GCU community and delighted with the support received

A nursing student has opened up on the personal trauma which inspired him to change his career outlook and study at GCU. 

Gordon Richards, who’s currently in his second year studying Nursing Studies (Adult), had been working in care homes since he was 18 years oldHe progressed to become a senior carer and even had experience of running dementia and nursing units.  

However, Gordon’s world was quickly turned upside when he was suspected of having viral meningitis. 

He explained: “felt unwell and was taken into hospital. I was given a lumbar puncture, which is basically an operation on the spine. I wasn’t in the correct position during it and moved, which consequently damaged my back and bladder. 

As a result, I was in and out of hospital for about three years before they actually recognised what was wrong. Following on from this, I actually had to get a catheter fitted - which definitely wasn’t a pleasant thing to go through.” 

Gordon added: “No-one wants to be 33 years old and living with tubes in their body. didn’t want to go out and hardly socialised because I was embarrassed of everything that had happened.  

I was also off work and actually got sacked from the job I was in at the time. It’s been a real fighting journey for me. 

Despite a number of challenges, Gordon refused to sit back and feel sorry for himself. 

He said: “I eventually managed to get back to work and went to college to complete an HNC. At that point, I thought I may as well go for it with University because I didn’t want to be in care homes for the rest of mdays.“ 

There were a number of options on the table for Gordon’s next steps, but he’s delighted that he chose GCU and believes his decision was vindicated with the support he’s been given during his time here. 

Gordon explained: “I actually had offers for Paisley, Edinburgh, Stirling and London but then I decided I wanted to stay local – it’s only ten minutes on the bus from where I stay in Dennistoun. I’ve also had links with students in homes that have come from GCU - I’d heard a lot of good things. 

He added: “The University has been brilliant with me. They knew my story from the very beginning – I didn’t hide anything from them. My lecturer, Laura Millar was my personal tutor and we were in regular contact around any difficulties I faced.  There were a couple of times I was admitted to hospital but I managed to catch up with my work. 

With third year just around the corner, Gordon is well aware he’s in for another tough chapter but believes he is now well equipped with the skills and life experience to deal with whatever lies ahead. 

He said: “I just go about my business like anyone else, it’s important not to let life get you down!  

There were a few people on my placement who were shocked at what I’ve been through and how I get on with things, despite my disability. I do struggle a bit with my academic writing but I’ve achieved grade A for all my placements - the practical side is so important for being a nurse. 

Gordon added: “The way I look at it now is that I know what it’s like to be lying in a hospital bed, suffering in pain, waiting for nurses to come. I can really sympathise with patients around their whole experience. 


By Ross Clark     
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