I am Toria, I am 37 and this is my second degree at USW. I have 2 children aged 13 and 9. Many people might believe that being a mature student and having children may hold them back when embarking on the journey of higher education, however, the reality is they are really the inspiration and motivation that anybody could need to spur them on to do their best.
I have worked since the age of 16 going from job to job never really settling or feeling I was where I was meant to be. I had my children and was working part time, I hit 30 and something just snapped inside me, I knew I had to do better in life for myself and my children. I quit my job, went to college where I gained an access diploma and then made my choices for university. There was only ever one choice for me and that choice was USW, the open day I attended was so friendly and student centred that I just knew it was for me.
Believe it or not, when I applied for my first degree, I still had no clear focus on what it was I wanted to do or be, I just knew I wanted to help people. I decided that a degree in early years development and education would start me off in the best place, I figured that working with children in their early years would be a great place to positively impact on their lives. During this degree I had several placements at various schools and nurseries, one placement was at an SEN 'super school' where I worked closely with children from nursery age right up to young adults of college age all with varying levels of abilities and additional needs. It was during this placement that I realised I had found where I truly belonged. The love, passion and pride I felt for these young people, each and every one of them unique in their own way, was like nothing I had felt before.
I had found my direction, my destination and I would do anything to get there. I got a job through an agency at that same school and the fire inside me grew, unfortunately I could not afford to carry on working full time for an agency due to financial reasons. I completed my degree with a 2:1 and applied for jobs in the field of learning disabilities. Unfortunately my lack of experience overshadowed my qualifications and passion for the field, I ended up working part time as a personal assistant to 3 wonderful young people with various needs, which I loved, but there I was again working part time and struggling with 2 young children.....
I knew I had to do something. After a lot of soul searching and doubting myself I decided that going back to univerisity was the best thing to do, but this time I had direction, a goal, a place I wanted to be; and that place was helping and supporting those with learning disabilities. I got in touch with USW and to my absolute delight I discovered that they offered a nursing degree in the field of learning disabilities. I applied there and then, and the rest is history......
Now I have completed my first week at USW on the learning disability nursing degree programme, I can honestly say that I am here writing this with a smile on my face because the course, the campus, the faculty and the LD family are perfect for me and where I want to be.
I would encourage anyone that is considering a rewarding, enjoyable career that they love and can be proud of to make this their first step. If my story and passion for nursing in the field of learning disabilities can inspire just one person then I will be happy. These wonderful, unique individuals are all entitled to live an inclusive life, with the best possible care and support. I am proud to say that I am going to be a learning disability nurse.
Victoria Marsh (1st year student nurse at USW)
You can train to become a Learning Disability Nurse at University of South Wales, you can find more information on the USW website: https://www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/bachelor-of-nursing-honslearning-disabilities/
You can also contact Rachel Morgan - Specialist Lead for Learning Disability Nursing via email: