Almy Anna John


Almy Anna John

Almy Anna John came to the UK three years ago to study for her BSc in Adult Nursing, and that was the first time she had ever left India.

We’ve been speaking to Almy about settling in, learning, exploring, award nominations and making exciting plans for her future.

“It was a really big thing, for me to come to the UK to study,” remembers Almy. “There was a lot to take in, from the language to the food and the weather, and getting used to a different way of studying.”

“I always wanted to work in the medical field. It has been my dream since childhood. After I saw the UK come up with a covid vaccination which was helping all of mankind, I was inspired and motivated and so I wanted to work here and that’s why the UK felt right for my nursing studies.”

Worcester is home to a vibrant mix of nationalities, with people coming from all over the world to study. Many stay in the area to make a difference in the NHS after they graduate.

“One of the main reasons I chose Worcester is because it is renowned for its nursing degree. I felt the way they aligned the placements and the modules helped put the theory into practice.

“The University was very welcoming during my application process, and Worcester is a very calm place to live.”

At the heart of learning to be a nurse is the time a student spends in a real hospital. At the University of Worcester, placements are central to the student experience.

“I did six placements all together in my three years,” says Almy. “At first, it was hard because everything was new to me. The language, the accents, the culture, the people, but I was doing it with other international students, so we were all experiencing the same thing together.”

There are natural challenges along the way for any student learning to be a nurse, but being aware of the support and help which was available to her made a big difference to the way Almy felt about her studies.

“The mentors and supervisors were really helpful, they taught me everything,” says Almy. “There was always support if you needed it, the mentors and supervisors came to us often and so there was a link between the University and the placement team. We had the lecturers at the University who were also really friendly, so I could talk to them, and they were always very supportive”.

As well as placements, studying and making friends, Almy has been doing a research internship which has led to her being nominated for a prestigious national award.

“I have been able to get involved in lots of opportunities including a two-year research internship where my topic was all about dermatology. Research is such an important part of nursing; you need research nurses to help widen our knowledge of the profession and keep improving the way we do things.”

As a result of her incredible commitment to her work, Almy has been shortlisted for the Student Nurse of the Year: Clinical Research award at the Student Nursing Times Awards, referred to by many in the field as being the equivalent to the Oscars for nursing education.

But away from placements, study, research projects and more, there’s often the paid work which international students undertake which not only supplements their income but adds to their enjoyment of their new home and makes a big difference to the way they approach their studies.

“I was working in a supported care living,” Almy smiles as she remembers her job.  

Supported living provides personal care to people so they can stay independent and live their lives to the fullest extent possible and the work carers do makes a genuine difference to the people who rely on the service.

“I did two days there every week. There were six residents where I was working and I helped them with their day-to-day living. I was supporting them with cooking, shopping, talking to them, going on walks, going to the café, it was simple things like this, but it helped me a lot to mingle with the culture.”

“I learned to cook English food! I learned to understand the phrases and accents which I’d never experienced before, and the job helped me with my work placements too because it helped me with talking to my patients.”

When students like Almy graduate, they have multiple prospects and choices ahead of them because of the variety of experiences they’ve had on their courses. Almy spent time working in critical care, she worked outside hospitals in the community, she worked with inpatients, outpatients, and on specialised wards too.

“By the end of my degree I’d experienced a mixture of everything. I didn’t have any mind as to where I wanted to work when I finished my degree, so it was really good for me to experience all kinds of different specialisms to work out what would be best for me.”

Almy is about to say goodbye to Worcester, the city which gave her that first taste of life outside her home country of India, and go to London, where she’ll be joining a world-renowned team of healthcare professionals in the heart of the UK’s capital city.

“My last placement was in critical care, in an Intensive Care Unit, and I didn’t expect I would like it but it was something I really loved, so my first job is going to be in critical care in Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust hospital.”

The hospital itself is one of the UK’s leading providers of hospital and community-based healthcare and will give Almy the chance to learn and develop even more as she goes through her career in nursing.

Leaving your home country and moving somewhere completely different is a big decision, and feeling apprehensive or anxious about it is completely normal. For Almy, the confidence and bravery it took to come to the UK were exactly the tools she needed to not only succeed in her studies, but to become a vital part of the community she joined.

“You’ll only get what you want by asking for it. If you keep quiet, nothing happens. It’s not always easy, but you’ll get there. And while you’ll miss your family, just remember that you’re coming here for a reason. You have a dream to fulfil, and dreams come with sacrifices.

“You do have to make those sacrifices, but remember, you’re doing it for something you really want.”

Find out more about the School of Nursing and Midwifery