University of Brighton Alumni Association

Karin Vertue student nurse University of Brighton

The award gave me confidence that, as a mature student, I could still achieve a lot and that my age does not limit me

Nursing student Karin Vertue

Nursing student Karin Vertue received funding from the Student Experience Fund to attend a research placement

Karin Vertue is about to begin her second year studying a BSc(Hons) in nursing and was offered a significant opportunity to take part in a research placement over the summer. She received funding from the Student Experience Fund to help with the expense of attending the placement – a fund that is provided thanks to donations made to the university by our alumni, staff and friends. Karin tells us what she gained from her placement and the impact that the experience will have on her learning and future career.

I started my adult student nursing course in September 2022 at the age of 46. During a team’s meeting with Vice Chancellor Debra Humphries she spoke about the research work of Professor Kathleen Galvin who I then approached to find out more information. Professor Galvin was incredibly generous with her time and experience, and this led to her arranging for a research placement for me with Professor Fiona Cowdell and Professor Judith Dyson of Birmingham City University. The grant supported me in financing some of the costs of attending this placement.

Why was it important for you to do the placement?

The opportunity to take part in an ongoing research project – which is being spearheaded by two research professors at the top of their field who had both been nurses – was an incredible opportunity. This kind of access to such experienced and knowledgeable professionals in research is not something ordinarily available to someone like me as a first-year student nurse.

What did you learn?

I learnt that research is something very much that I want to pursue as part of my career as a nurse. I learnt to really value the opportunities that I had access to and to appreciate the generosity of time that was given to me and my relentless questions! I was also able to discuss my future in relation to further study once I have qualified as a nurse, something I had thought about but was able to ask more specific questions and which helped me plan for this.

How will the placement influence your future learning and career?

I learnt so many transferable skills which I have put into action already. I received such incredible advice on study and research skills that I can use in all my academic and professional work.  I knew that I was interested in research, but the time spent in Birmingham has left no doubt this is something I will pursue as part of my professional work. I was also incredibly lucky to be invited to stay on the project alongside my academic studies.

What would you say to other students who are thinking of applying to the Student Experience Fund?

I would say go for it you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Your academic timetable will enable you to gain a good degree so that you can pursue your future chosen career.  However, that is just five per cent of what is available to you whilst you are at university. What you can curate for yourself is an education. There are so many opportunities that are available if you look for them. There is a vast network of academics who all have interesting careers and specialist interests that you can learn so much from. Our pool of students is rich in diversity not only in culture but in interests. By building contacts and networking with other people  you can have such a rich academic experience during your time at Brighton. The award enabled me to fund my trip to Birmingham for my placement but more than that it gave me confidence that, as a mature student, I could still achieve a lot and that my age does not limit me. The wider opportunity from the grant of meeting like-minded people to share ideas with and learn from is also invaluable.




Employability SchemeNursing studentResearch placementStudent Experience FundUniversity of Brighton

Sally Colledge • September 7, 2022

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