A King’s Lynn teenager is a step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a nurse.
Katie Ball, 19, was inspired to make a difference after hearing stories from her aunt, who is a Respiratory Nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn.
Miss Ball is currently on a 12-week placement, along with 33 other students, at the hospital as part of her nursing degree at the University of East Anglia.
Some of the faces are very familiar at the hospital, including her mother Nikki, who is a ward clerk, along with Practice Development Nurse Julia Saunders.
Miss Ball, who completed a health and social care course at the College of West Anglia, was given help and advice from Mrs Saunders ahead of her university interview.
There is a national shortage of nurses and the hospital is playing its part to bridge the gap with the Grow Your Own initiative, which is a partnership between the Trust and College of West Anglia, to encourage more people to take up the profession.
Former King Edward VII Academy pupil Miss Ball, who is a First Year student, said: “The advice I received helped to give me a real insight into what life would be like as a nurse and what they would be looking for at the university interview.
“I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of going through a mock interview and the feedback given was really helpful. It was a confidence boost and I felt prepared going into the interview.
“I have wanted to become a nurse since I was 13 or 14 but after speaking to my aunt, I knew that it was something I was really interested in. I want to make a difference and help people.
“It is nice to come back on placement and I would like to work here as it is a really welcoming environment.”
She added: “I would also advise A-Level and GCSE students not to become too downhearted if they do not get what they need. If you want something bad enough, you will do everything you can to get there.”
Mrs Saunders and her colleagues in the Nursing Development Team have forged close links with the College of West Anglia over the last three years in order to promote nursing among youngsters in West Norfolk.
Over the next 12 weeks, the 33 student nurses, who are a mixture of First, Second and Third Years from UEA and the University of Hertfordshire, will be getting a taste of life on the wards. They will be either working on basic nursing and management skills or looking at longterm conditions.
Mrs Saunders, who has worked for the hospital for 33 years, said: “It is a pleasure to see Katie again and I hope she will be the first of many student nurses coming through the Grow Your Own pathway.”
The hospital has organised an event in September to help recruit more nurses, midwives and other health professionals, including physiotherapists and radiographers.
Deputy Director of Nursing Val Newton said: “It is wonderful to hear that Katie is making those important first steps on her career with help from Julia. I would like to wish her every success in the future.
“Grow Your Own is just one of the many nurse recruitment strategies run by the hospital, which also includes national and international strands.”