After her first year of study at Middlesex University, Elizabeth knew that she had chosen the right vocation and was keen to take it further. Inspired to make a difference with her new knowledge, she decided to travel to Ghana to volunteer at a community hospital – a situation that was very different to what she was used to.
Working in a semi-rural environment, where infrastructure was scarce and approaches to healthcare were markedly different, was eye-opening for Elizabeth. She realised the importance of being resourceful and pragmatic in everyday practice, using what's immediately available to the greatest possible effect. She also confirmed her belief that, in order to stay passionate and drive their profession further, nurses need to expose themselves to as many different experiences as possible.
"The whole point of going to Ghana was to break out of the expected and experience an unfamiliar healthcare setting," she says. "We have a fantastic healthcare system in the UK, but it is not perfect – and how are you supposed to change something without having experienced anything else?" The experience also made her eager to contribute to advancing healthcare in developing countries, with the ultimate goal of working for Médecins Sans Frontières.
Back at Middlesex and continuing her degree in child nursing, Elizabeth is grateful for the support she receives from her tutors in pursuing her passion. "If you're willing to learn, they are willing to push you to your absolute best to get the most out of you," she says. "Everyone is given the same opportunity to succeed personally, and the staff do the maximum they can possibly do to help every student, which is absolutely lovely. I don't think I could have had that anywhere else."