Ibrahim Ghazy was in his first year of adult nursing at Middlesex when he was presented with the option to pursue European Nursing.
He was initially intimidated by the upheaval that a move to a foreign country would bring, having already experienced a lot of change moving to London and leaving his job as a clinic manager to pursue his dream of becoming a nurse. But, spurred on by his programme leader at Middlesex, he took the plunge and travelled to Finland for what was to become the experience of a lifetime and the launch pad for his career.
Ibrahim spent eight months in Pori, a small city on the west coast of Finland, where he was immediately immersed in the environment of a large hospital covering the western part of the country.
"I had so much autonomy there," he explains.
"On my first day I was given training to cannulate a patient. The teaching was very informed and the hospital placed a lot of trust in me."
Given the freedom to select his own placement, he chose to work with paramedics – an option not generally available to nursing students in the UK. He also worked on an acute ward, where he gained all-important experience in pre-hospital, accident and emergency and after-accident care.
"It gave me a real advantage over my colleagues," Ibrahim explains. On returning to London and graduating with a first class honours, he was immediately offered three different positions at various Trusts – a success he attributes to the skills he gained during his time in Finland.
"None of this would have happened if I hadn't had my European experience," Ibrahim says. "It shows that you can adapt to different situations. When employers see in your statement letter that you studied European Nursing, they are immediately interested."
Ibrahim chose a covetable position as a nurse at Guy's and St Thomas' Trust, specialising in Interventional Radiology – a field where his experience in acute care and critical decision-making proved to be in high demand. He has since moved on to a role in the Accident and Emergency department at University College Hospital, and is delighted at how quickly his career is progressing just one year after graduation.
"My role includes assessing, intervening and stabilising a variety of major and minor illnesses; providing critical medical care and specialised treatment to patients that are either critically injured or severely ill; performing accurate assessments about incoming patients, including both physical and mental health conditions; physiological monitoring and identification of deteriorating patients and liaising with other multidisciplinary healthcare professionals regarding patients' complex needs," he says.
"Spending time in the Finnish accident and emergency department and in the paramedic unit and finishing my degree in the UK in an Acute Admission Unit definitely prepared me to take this position. In Finland I was trained and practiced many nursing skills essential for an A&E nurse – including administering intravenous fluids, venepuncture, cannulation and inserting male catheters.
"Last but not least, I still have support from Middlesex University after graduating; my programme leader, Dr Sheila Cunningham, continues to support me and gave me a glowing reference, which was in no doubt a significant factor which increased my chances and made me stand out!"
Ibrahim urges aspiring nurses to follow his lead and take on the career advantages that European Nursing at Middlesex University has to offer. "I wouldn't have had better support at any other university," he says. "I want everyone to be able to have the same experiences I've had."