Hannah, a Mental Health Nursing graduate, aspired to work within a healthcare setting all of her life and is now living her dream job.
This article is an edited version that originally appeared on the Manchester Evening News.
Bridging the healthcare shortfall
During the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS staff have been under enormous pressure, and there has been a national shortage of many key professionals, which has only increased the strain on our region's NHS and care services.
A big concern for many throughout the pandemic has been the impact on mental health, and how so many people have suffered as a result of health anxiety, isolation and fear.
As key providers of medical, health and social care training, The University of Manchester has been well equipped to fill this shortfall, with many talented, highly-skilled students and staff ready to step onto the front lines and help those in need.
More than 3,000 of the University's students graduate in healthcare-related programmes each year, with 2,616 graduates, that the University is in touch with, currently working across the region's hospitals and NHS trusts.
Providing mental health support
For Hannah Osborne, who has aspired to work within a healthcare setting all her life, providing mental health support for her patients during the pandemic has been an inspiring, rewarding and life-changing experience.
Hannah said: "Since I was young, mental health issues have run in my family. My cousin went into a mental health unit, so I've grown up knowing about mental health and how important it is for people to receive the help they need. It really inspired me to want to help other people.
"When I was 18, I went to study mental health nursing but experienced my own struggles with mental health, so I had to leave. I finally qualified last year, and I couldn't be happier that I chose to study at The University of Manchester. The course was fantastic, and I was so fortunate to have a brilliant Academic Advisor who was incredibly supportive.
"The courses aren't just about sitting in a classroom. The whole experience has been so immersive because the University is passionate about contributing to a healthier, happier, better community. For example, we were put through a simulation that mimics what it's like for mental health patients to hear voices - so it's not just about doing the job, but living the job.
"The University was so amazing at ensuring we had real experiences to apply to our future careers.
"I'm incredibly interested in the homeless side of mental health, so the University identified different charities I could spend time with and work with to really understand.
"This is just one example of how the University goes above and beyond and how it has an incredible, positive impact on the region. The University integrates with society in so many ways and breaks down so many barriers.
"As a result of this incredible experience, I'm now living my dream job and helping people with mental health struggles on a daily basis. Until recently, I worked on an intensive care unit in which the patients were incredibly poorly but prone to violent outbursts or were considered a risk to themselves.
"Because it was such a small ward, it allowed me to really bond with each patient, figure out what might be a stress factor for them and become a go-between to ensure they get the help and support they need.
"Now, I work within the community as a care coordinator for the Early Intervention Team in Salford, working with people from all walks of life to identify all their care needs and the trigger points that can cause those issues with their mental health.
"Then, I identify the ways we can hopefully work with them to improve their lives. It's the most rewarding job in the world, and I love what I do. People's lives are so isolated, especially during the pandemic, so it's nice to build relationships and show these people that you're never going to give up on them.
"There's nothing more rewarding than that, and I simply couldn't provide this service to people living in our region without the support of The University of Manchester."
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