Back in December 2018 we interviewed Kyle Bentley, an alumni Access to HE student who was just about to complete his first term at Birmingham City University (BCU). Now in his final year of university, Kyle is well on his way to achieving his dream of becoming a mental health nurse.
The remainder of Kyle's first year at university was eventful. He made the conscious decision to get involved in as many opportunities that the university offered as possible. This included being a student representative on a panel to recruit a new lecturer; joining a 12-student team whose thoughts and views helped the Nursing & Midwifery Council develop a new nursing course; and being selected for a three-day conference in Edinburgh on the Future of Mental Health Nursing. The icing on the cake came at the end of his final year, when Kyle won a Student Participation award open to all first year students at BCU.
By comparison, Kyle’s second year was less eventful, though he admitted that there was a much higher level of work and more of it, though that did mean that the year went quickly. It wasn’t long before COVID-19 interrupted the academic year, and Kyle played his part within the NHS, being redeployed for three months to cover for nursing staff tackling the virus more directly within hospitals. His placement was on a ward for older patients with dementia.
The mood turned a little more sombre when talking about his final year. With the pandemic about to peak again in September of 2020, all lectures quickly moved online. Kyle admits to finding this difficult, as his way of learning is not just through being taught by the lecturer, but also through the debate to be had with fellow students (the latter being much harder in a virtual setting).
Final year of university means dissertation time and Kyle’s will be researching the benefits of a drug in early onset dementia patients. When asked about his dissertation and what results he expects to find, he humorously answered, “a whole lot of bother!” Kyle is very much a hands-on person and prefers the practical work of being with patients to academic writing.
When thinking about his plans after graduation, Kyle wants to jump straight into the workplace. Although, right now he’s still considering his options.
“Ideally, I would love to work with medical staff to help with their own mental health and trauma issues,” Kyle explained. “Stress levels are at an all-time high currently, due to the pandemic. I don’t believe this role exists currently, but it should be.”
When reflecting on his time spent back in full-time education as a mature student, Kyle said, “I really appreciate the opportunity. It has been a brilliant experience and I’ve met some great people. The level of work is hard, but it’s given me real sense of achievement. The best bit is making a difference to patients; that is most rewarding.”
Do you want to follow Kyle to university as a mature student? We offer Access to Higher Education courses in a variety of subjects, including business, law, engineering, criminology, and more.