Nurse balances studies at Newtownabbey campus with frontline duties

A nurse with over 10 years’ experience has continued her role as a frontline healthcare worker while studying a professionally accredited leadership course at Northern Regional College’s Newtownabbey campus.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 12:30 pm

Hanan Billingsley has worked in a variety of health and social care settings, ranging from care of the elderly and dementia patients to forensic maximum secure settings, but in the longer term she would like to step up to a management role within the Trust or the private sector and felt the Level 5 qualification would help with her career progression.

She explains why the Leadership for Health and Health and Social Care Services Level 5 Diploma at NRC’s Newtownabbey campus stood out for her: “The advice and pre-entry information from Northern Regional College was very informative and went far beyond that of other training organisations that offer the same course.

“I started the course last September in the middle of the pandemic and, while we are still very much living and working in unprecedented times, the course content, online delivery and ongoing support from lecturers have always been excellent. This course has really opened my eyes up to different roles within health and social care.”

Hanan Billingsley is studying part-time to complete a Leadership for Health and Health and Social Care Services Level 5 Diploma at NRC in Newtownabbey while working as a frontline care worker.

Hanan said that the course director, Jacqui McAllister and course assessor, Siobhan McEldowney had both been truly inspiring and insightful.

She added: “They made us feel respected and valued and, while they didn’t ‘sugar coat’ the reality of leadership roles in health and social care at the present difficult time, they encouraged us all to believe that if we stay strong, we will be able to work through this together.

“I would like to be on campus but understand this isn’t possible because of the pandemic. However, the team has been most supportive, and, thanks to their help, I have become more confident at engaging online.”

While completing her studies, Hanan has continued nursing. As a frontline healthcare worker, she recently received the Covid-19 vaccination which she said will allow her to continue doing what she does best.

Hanan added: “From the outset I felt confident that I had made the right choice to study at Northern Regional College as the expertise and knowledge pre course entry was far beyond those of other training organisations that run the course.”

Course Director, Jacqui McAllister said she and her colleagues were most impressed by the way students like Hanan had managed to balance their studies with their work and family commitments.

She said: “We are very proud of their resilience and ability to cope with online learning while working on the front line as future leaders and managers during this very challenging time for everyone in the health and social care sector.”

If Hanan’s story has inspired you, register here to receive an email reminder and direct link to the college’s virtual Open Day to access information and videos of specific courses, as well as advice on student finance and education support.

You will also be able to speak to members of the College’s careers team through ‘live chat.’

For further information, go to month the Larne Times reported how an intensive care nurse who lost her health worker husband to Covid said she “could have cried” at the number of people not wearing masks and social distancing when she went to buy clothes for his funeral.

For more on this, read here

Meanwhile, during the height of the first coronavirus lockdown the Times reported that a Carnlough woman was to donate her payment for weekend healthcare assistant shifts at Antrim Hospital to Ulster University’s cornavirus testing fundraising appeal.

For more on this kind gesture, read here


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