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Qualifying as a nurse during the pandemic

Even in the most normal of times it’s not always easy being a 29-year-old mum of three while working hard to qualify as a nurse at the same time. Let alone in spring 2020.

Kayleigh Mole is in her second and final year studying for a master’s in nursing. She commutes from her home in Derbyshire to Sheffield every week and, until recently, things had been going relatively smoothly.

Despite taking six months out from her degree to have a baby, Kayleigh had successfully finished the theory element of her course and in March was preparing to start her placement.

That’s not to say things were easy. Kayleigh cares for a young family and, like many in her situation, often struggles to keep up with bill payments and has to be careful when shopping for essentials, like food. And then things got even more complicated…

Due to the public health situation in the UK, Kayleigh was asked at the very start of her placement to opt-in to an extended contract. She was placed on a cardiology and haematology ward at King’s Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield which would allow her to get her required hours in, as well as support the NHS in a critical time in the fight against coronavirus.

Unfortunately, because she’d had taken six months out, Kayleigh had to reapply for the bursary that was helping her to pay her bills and, due to the situation, the payment that she was relying on while studying was delayed meaning she was struggling to make ends meet.

Luckily, a student advisor at the University informed her about the Sheffield Hallam Hardship Fund and told her how to apply online. She did so straight away, receiving a decision in a few days and a payment in a week. Kayleigh was awarded a Tesco food voucher along with a hardship payment payment. This ensured that her rent was paid and that she could put food on the table, plugging a financial gap caused by unprecedented circumstances.

Thankfully, Kayleigh has been able to continue working towards her goal of being a nurse. She is currently a few weeks into her placement and is balancing this alongside her dissertation and family duties. She hopes to become a registered nurse later this year.

Kayleigh said:

“The food voucher was sent instantly and ensured I could get essential food items. I was so relieved. Knowing that the money was coming through too was such a relief and I felt reassured and less worried about how I would survive.

“I am so very grateful to the financial team at Hallam for the support. It took away the worries and stress I had whilst awaiting a bursary payment and it ensured that as a family we had food on the table and our essential bills were paid.”

This is why the Sheffield Hallam Coronavirus Appeal has been put in place – to tackle such issues and support students across the university, like Kayleigh, who are facing extreme challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Appeal will provide support to students that have been most seriously affected by this crisis so they can continue their studies. To find out more about how you can help, please visit the Sheffield Hallam Coronavirus Appeal page.

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