Student profile
Kudakwashe Chifamba, BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Registered Nurse Mental Health Nursing)

Kudakwashe Chifamba

"I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with service users on acute wards, interacting, observing and participating in the assessment of new patients."

Why I chose Surrey

I’ve always been passionate about helping people and I’m someone who people often seek personal counsel from, which I’m more than happy to provide. When I learned there were opportunities to go down that route in mental health nursing, I knew immediately it was the perfect field for me. As a natural extrovert, I’ve always been keen to go into a profession that is people-orientated, and nursing ticked all the boxes.

When I arrived at Surrey for my open day and subsequent interview, I was even more sure I wanted to be a mental health nurse. This only added more fuel to the fire of passion that had ignited inside me. Surrey was my first choice. Turning up for orientation, it truly lived up to its impeccable reputation for education, campus and community. It was everything I expected and so much more.

My course

While the nature of what we do on the mental health nursing course has its unique set of challenges, I love that a key part of practising and working in this field really probes your interpersonal skills. This suits me perfectly as I’m built, made and wired differently in personality, I like people, and I’m naturally curious and inquisitive.

The teaching staff are terrific. Through the good days and the difficult ones, they’re incredibly supportive, both academically and personally. With them and my fellow students, we’ve built a wonderful community here, which I’m honoured to be a part of. I’ve had some of the most incredible experiences of my life with them.

The facilities are amazing! I couldn’t be happier with all the equipment I’ve been provided with to help and enhance my learning experience.

"Once I qualify, I’d love to combine mental health nursing and music. My aim is to create new innovative therapeutic interventions to help people with their mental wellbeing."

My clinical placements

All my placements have been with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. I’ve had a mixture of hospital and community settings, including rehabilitation and assessment and treatment centres. I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with service users on acute wards, interacting, observing and participating in the assessment of new patients. I’ve also attended ward reviews, multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meetings, and conducted assessments in the community with the crisis resolution home treatment team.

Finally, I’ve gained experience working in a higher risk setting on a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. These are just a few of the awesome experiences I’ve had in practice.

I feel very fortunate in my journey so far and it’s difficult to pick a single highlight. I’d say one of my biggest achievements is the impact I have on my patients. Being able to have a positive effect and build a therapeutic relationship and rapport with them has been incredible. It’s also had a great influence on me – not only as a mental health nurse but as a person.

My career and development

My time at Surrey is helping me find key elements of myself that I either didn’t know I had or doubted. Words cannot begin to express my gratitude to everyone – from my tutors and the faculty, to all my friends and classmates who’ve I’ve shared the experience with. I will be forever thankful. It’s been wonderful and emotional. My journey here has been nothing short of amazing.

I’m certainly always open to new ideas and opportunities. Once I qualify, I’d love to combine mental health nursing and music. My aim is to create new innovative therapeutic interventions to help people with their mental wellbeing. I’ve already started experimenting with how I can do this, in collaboration with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Here are a few of my rapping videos I’ve developed for patients:

My advice

Speaking from my own experience, embrace and believe in yourself. Remember to be kind to your mind, which will allow you to be truly kind to others. While I’ve faced my own set of challenges, I’ve learnt so much from them, and I’ve enjoyed every second of the experience. Everyone has their groove and rhythm and the time to be fully tuned in to it varies.

Finally, trust the process and enjoy every second of the ride. There’ll be some challenging times and difficult days, but it comes with the territory. Embrace those times and appreciate the learning experiences from them. As I always say, "Bad times for lessons, good times for therapy."

Find out more about our mental health nursing course

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