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Nurse overcomes mental health struggle to graduate with dream job

Sophie Little (23), from Lisburn, will graduate today (Wednesday 14 December) with a BSc Degree in Professional Adult Nursing from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast.

Sophie Little

Sophie began her course in 2020, but unfortunately her mental health started to decline at the start of 2021, and she was encouraged to step out of placement to look after herself. 

Speaking about her experience, Sophie said: “My advice for people struggling would be that your health is your wealth, and no one should be scared to talk about how they are feeling. The scary reality is that I would not be here today if I hadn’t been empowered by others to seek the help I needed at my lowest. I didn’t realise how ill I was until it was almost too late.” 

Thankfully, alongside CBT counselling and support from friends and staff at Queen’s, Sophie was able to seek treatment and go on to complete her degree. 

“My lecturers and colleagues at Queen’s were all extremely supportive of me when I was struggling with my workload. Dr Niall McKenna from the School of Nursing and Midwifery really empowered me to take some time for myself and get myself better. He kept in regular contact with me and when I was ready to come back, he ensured that I was given the support I needed to complete my degree.” 

Looking ahead to her special day, Sophie said: “I plan to spend my graduation day with my wonderful parents and husband who were my biggest support throughout my time of ill health. 

“Following my graduation, I will begin working in Laganvalley Day Procedure Centre as a staff nurse. I chose this place of work as I had my placement here and they supported me implicitly throughout.  

“Being a nurse gives me the opportunity to care for people at their most vulnerable and to be able to advocate for them when they cannot speak for themselves. I am excited for what the future holds for me.” 


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