One year into her nursing degree at Canterbury Christchurch University, Naznin Shultana has been inspired by a recent placement at ellenor. Her experiences there have completely changed her preconceptions about end-of-life care and fuelled her determination to support others when they are at their most vulnerable.
She says: “I had a month at ellenor and it was brilliant, especially the Wellbeing support and the care patients and their families receive at end of life. I was so impressed by the emotional help given to relatives. It was lovely to have the opportunity to work with the nurses there and I feel very proud to have been a part of what they do. The whole experience has made me want to work in this field when I qualify.”
As a young Muslim woman growing up in Bangladesh, Naznin says she was lucky to be able to study for a degree in fashion. Her career completely changed direction when she married. Her husband came to the UK as a student, so she applied for a visa and was able to join him. Five and a half years ago, she gave birth to a little boy, Nazif Hussain, and it was the care she received during this time that made her decide she would like to become a nurse. Once Nazif was a bit older, she signed up for the degree course at Canterbury.
She and her fellow students are offered a variety of work placements. The ellenor education department offers these to nursing and paramedic students from both Canterbury Christchurch and Greenwich universities. The aim is to build their social skills and confidence and increase their knowledge while also increasing the quality of care the charity offers its patients and their families.
Naznin, 28, says: “It’s difficult to see death, and I can’t explain the emotions you feel. As a Muslim I believe in an afterlife and am happy to speak about death, but it’s not easy. You can’t feel exactly what a patient’s family feels but you can empathise and try to understand. It’s a professional challenge. You need to be strong in that situation. I was there to give them all emotional and moral support. The whole experience left me more confident that I could deal with similar situations in the future.”