Nora Maria Saju

Nora Maria Saju

A journey from Kerala to London; how the University of Worcester helped Nora find her passion.

“I didn’t have any ideas what the Intensive Therapy Unit really was before I went there,” says Nora. “It was like a different world to me. Even on my days off I wanted to go in and help.”

Imagine being so passionate about a placement you were on, that you didn’t want a day off.

“It felt like ‘I have to go’, I have to help them’ and that was amazing.”

Nora Saju travelled to the UK from Kerala in her home nation of India to study for her nursing degree at the University of Worcester three years ago and has just graduated.

Like all nursing students, placements in real hospitals, working with real patients on real wards was at the heart of her education and it was there, on an ITU that she found her true calling in life.

“Because I was a third-year student, I was allowed to do most of the things. Like taking blood from patients which I used to love. We’d get the results, and it can be quite hard to interpret them, but by the end of my placement I was able to do it and that made me really proud.”

An ITU, or Intensive Therapy Unit, can be known by several different names. Critical Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit, and so on, but they’re where you’ll find some of the hospitals most vulnerable and unwell patients.

Patients with acute illness or injury who require specialised procedures and treatments by specialised staff.

“We’d have different cases coming onto the ward, things like a paracetamol overdose, patients with respiratory issues.” Recalls Nora, remembering her time working an environment where you’ve got to be ready for anything. You have no idea what’s going to come through the door next.

It’s not uncommon for students who do a rotation of different placements to find themselves falling in love with a job while they’re studying, and that’s exactly what happened to Nora. Speaking to me from her family home in Kerala, she explains she’s taking a couple of months back home before she returns to the UK to take up a position at Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust in London.

“The interview was really tough. It was really, really tough! They were asking lots of tough questions.”

She’ll be in a new place but in familiar territory, working on the ITU. It’s a job which is hugely challenging, but equally as rewarding.

“When the patient is in a coma, on a ventilator, and then when they slowly come back to their normal life, we know we looked after them and when they have a smile on their face, it makes me really proud.  You feel like you’re a part of that. You did something for someone, and that gave me proper satisfaction.”

For many patients, an incident which puts them into an ITU is a huge life event. It’s something the patient is unlikely to ever forget, and at the heart of that often scary experience is the treatment they receive.

To be a part of their recovery story is a privilege for healthcare workers.

“They’ll have a massive improvement and to be part of that feels very important.”

Nora is one of many international students who come to the University of Worcester from countries all over the world who dream of working in the NHS, of learning how the UK health system works, developing skills and furthering their education.

While in the immediate future, Nora is heading back onto an ITU to begin her professional career, she still has her sights firmly set on her career development.

“I would like to do more courses in ITU. There are a lot of courses available so I would like to do as many as possible and be an outreach nurse where you help on ITU.”

“There are lots of benefits to being a nurse, and it’s a big organisation to work in so I really wanted to work at the NHS.”

If you’ve always dreamed of having a job in healthcare where your motivation to go to work is so strong that you miss your work on your days off, head to the University of Worcester website to see how you can start your journey today.

Find out more about the School of Nursing and Midwifery