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Sarah Seal is an apprentice nurse associate at The University of Chichester. She recently attended the FNF Students Day 2024 and in this blog she shares her experience of being part of the event.

“I currently work for Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. (SCFT) and I am based at Bognor Memorial Hospital .

I brought to the trust years of experience in the care field, this included nursing homes, community care, palliative care and working for myself in the community, and caring for those in a prison environment. My passion for nursing has always been there and so I then applied to the trust for the nursing associate apprenticeship course, I was successful and have been at Chichester University since February 2024 This was a fantastic opportunity for me as a mature student with financial commitments to enable me to have this wonderful opportunity to finally make my dream of becoming a nurse a real one. 

When I had the opportunity to apply for the FNF Students Day I took it! To apply for this, we had to write a short reason to as why we should be chosen to attend the day. I shared a picture of me as a child dressed up as a nurse something I loved doing. Along with wonderful memories of my parents reading to me from an old book that reflected on the life of Florence Nightingale.

At last, the 15 May arrived and myself and other students boarded the coach which would take us to London, a good opportunity to socialise and meet other students all in different stages of their journeys, feeling of real camaraderie a special day to be part of. When we arrived in London we were welcomed with goody bags and well-deserved coffee which was very much appreciated.

Professor Greta Westwood gave us a welcoming speech about her life and what led her to the path of nursing and how her career began and evolved. She showed all of us nurses an apron that had been handmade by her mother. This truly was a lovely moment in the room, think all students were touched by this. Followed this we were introduced to FNF team along with student Co-Hosts Aghogho and Natasha both who were very inspiring. We had great fun with the interactive workshops, this gave me time to reflect on my own journey including how far I had come.

To be part of this day made me feel incredibly lucky. It enabled me to experience this day along with the wise words of a professional who helped us express our thoughts through Lego!

Chichester University Sussex Hospitals were sponsors for the day, which meant later all students from Chichester would be part of the Commemoration service at Westminster Abbey. The feeling of the first moment when stepping into the abbey was extraordinary, made me feel patriotic, proud to be there on behalf of the NHS meeting so many different people from different walks of life. To walk in a procession along with other nurses and other professionals was a ‘truly hairs stand on end experience.’ “

This day was such a prestigious event I would strongly recommend if ever you get the opportunity to go and be part of this day do it! You wont regret it. The help and opportunities through FNF are incredible: real leadership. So many different programmes to be part of when you finally transition from student to nurse. One I will be part of one day.”