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Mum inspired to study child nursing to honour her son

17 February 2022

When Elinor Ridout tragically lost her 13-year-old son William to a sudden and acute illness during the height of the pandemic in March of last year, she found herself completely lost.

Her life had previously happily revolved around Will, who had disabilities, and his older sister Jenny.

Soon after, she felt the need to find a purpose, something to do in Will’s honour, so she enrolled on Cardiff University’s pathway to healthcare to pursue her dream of studying a degree in child nursing.

The pathway is provided by Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) and offers a clear route for adult learners hoping to study a degree at the School of Healthcare at Cardiff University.

Elinor says she was determined to succeed and show her daughter it was possible to have dreams and ambitions and to create a good life. She has recently received her offer to study children’s nursing in September.

Elinor, 38, from Bridgend, said: “I had learnt so much from Will over the years that I wanted to do something which would allow me to use everything he had taught me, and I have always enjoyed working with children.

“Will was often in and out of hospital with his epilepsy over the years, and he absolutely loved his nurses at his school and our local hospital. The way they cared for him, and supported me, always made me extremely grateful and he was never scared of being in hospital because of them.

“I know that Will would have been incredibly proud if I was a nurse and the thought of using all that Will taught me and being able to help other families on their journey seemed the right and only way forward.

“I was so nervous about returning to study after so many years, especially with a subject that I hadn’t previously studied. The support and communication prior to the course starting was brilliant, and I felt more at ease before the first lecture had even taken place.

“We’ve been lucky that most of our learning has been able to take place face to face. I have dissected a pig’s heart in my kitchen during one of the online Saturday sessions which is definitely not something I ever expected to do, but it was very relevant to our subject and really supported our learning.

“We also had brilliant support with the UCAS application process, and I have just found out that I have secured my first offer to study Children’s Nursing at Cardiff University in September which I am absolutely thrilled about. My daughter ended up enrolling on the pathway to business a few months after me, and she is feeling the same about her pathway.”

The pathway to healthcare is one of 12 provided by CPE. More details can be found here.

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