Mental health nurse graduates after overcoming life-threatening illness

A University of Salford mental health nurse has graduated at a ceremony, after overcoming a life-threatening illness.

Jennifer Wiles joined Salford in the September 2015 intake but contracted Viral Encephalitis at the start of her third year which resulted in her being in an induced coma through the Christmas period of 2017.

Following her recovery, Jennifer was discharged from hospital in March 2018 and returned to university the following June.

Jennifer was heartbroken to have not graduated in Summer 2018 with her friends but has demonstrated great resilience and determination to return and complete her studies.

She explained: “I was devastated as we had been through the three years together and laughed and cried together with the end goal of all graduating as one.”

Jennifer is now working as a staff nurse in psychiatric intensive care at home in Teesside.

She added: “I think my experience will massively impact my role as from going through what I did I have been given a completely different outlook on life, and I think my positivity and empathy for people struggling will make me a better nurse.

“I am loving my new role as psychiatric nurse on a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and am so grateful I am here now thriving in the role I love.”

Angelina Chadwick, Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing, said: “Jennifer has demonstrated a significant amount of tenacity, resilience and resolve but her experience as a patient I feel has also deepened her compassion and empathy for patients. I am sure that will make a truly exceptional nurse.”

Jennifer added: “Overall, I have had the best experience at the University and am grateful for the support from all, especially my tutor Angelina, for the support she gave me getting through all of this and pushing me to keep positive to achieve my goal which I have now achieved.”

Picture (c) The University of Salford.