4 October 2017
Becoming a mum gave student inspiration to train to become a nurse at Wrexham Glyndwr University
Working mums should use their children as inspiration rather than a barrier to realising their career dreams, says a nurse who transformed her life through education after becoming a parent at 18.
Emma Louise Jones was working in a convenience store in her home town, Chirk, as a new mum when she decided to follow her lifelong ambition of becoming a nurse.
Lacking the formal qualifications needed to study for a degree straight away, she enrolled on an Access to Higher Education course.
This led to a place on Wrexham Glyndwr University’s BN (Hons) Adult Nursing degree, which Emma completed in September 2010.
Since qualifying, she’s been working in a residential college for young adults with learning disabilities, training care staff.
“I worried a lot about failing,” Emma said. “But I always stuck to the instinct that fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.
“It’s still possible to study while supporting a young family and you can achieve anything if you use your children as your why not your excuse.
“I have always wanted to be a nurse as I felt a sense of satisfaction when I helped people from a young age. But after leaving school I was already in love with my now husband and put future career plans on the back burner.
“I very quickly became pregnant and distinctly remember standing at the tills knowing it was not where I was meant to be. I wanted a job – a profession – of which my baby would be proud.”
Coping with the demands of motherhood and study were initially a struggle, says Emma, but with determination and support from the university found a solution.
She said: “The first few months were filled with excitement and adrenaline and I was lucky to have such a supportive partner and parents to help me with childcare when I was at university.
“Then as the first year progressed I started to wobble as I was missing important milestones with my daughter Eryn. She was starting to walk and talk and I was angry I had started working on a career after she was born, not before.
“But I told myself that the reason I didn’t start working on a career before was because I didn’t have a reason – Eryn was the reason.”
Emma uses her nursing skills daily to train care staff in tasks such as record keeping, medication training, epilepsy and diabetes care – but one day hopes to return to the classroom.
“I found that I love to teach,” she said. “And I would love to influence young mums who want to make something out of their life but are too afraid or don’t have the confidence to make the necessary steps.
“I’ve very lucky that I’ve had such fantastic support throughout the journey. The first people I thought of when I got my degree were my parents. They’ve always had a good work ethic and reminded me that I chance achieve anything if I want it enough.
“I don’t think you actually believe that until you go through it and what’s stronger is if you’re doing it for someone else. I never gave up when it was hard, when I was tired, when I wanted to stay at home with my daughter. I carried on because I had her as my driving force.”