“I want to do her proud”
In April 2020, Katie Reynolds, a nurse on Bracken Ward, died at her home in Plymouth.
Following the sad loss of Katie after a she struggled with her own mental health, a scholarship has been awarded her honour.
The Katie Reynolds Scholarship was set up by UHP to provide training to help someone enter the profession to become an excellent nurse like Katie.
At the time of her passing Lenny Byrne, Chief Nurse and Director of Integrated Clinical Professions at UHP, spoke on behalf of Katie's colleagues:
"Nurse Katie Reynolds was a very special part of the team and had been working with us for five years since graduation. She was a truly loved part of her ward team and the wider haematology unit.
"Katie has been described by her colleagues as 'warm-hearted and bubbly', 'often singing with an infectious laugh', 'a rainbow in the clouds who brightened up your day', 'loyal', 'caring', 'loved by all' and 'an excellent nurse'.”
Trainee nurse James Carlyle, 52, from Plymouth is the proud recipient of that scholarship. Prior to becoming a nursing student, James spent 30 years working in retail as a store manager of a large supermarket and as an area manager for Royal Mail.
After becoming a carer for his grandmother for 6 years, James was motivated to change his career and help more people. He started to look for routes into healthcare but struggled to find an entry route without the qualifications he needed.
However, successfully starting an apprenticeship enabled him to start the journey. He undertook a level 3 HCA apprenticeship, first working in theatres and later as a doctor’s assistant. He said:
“I was working across Stonehouse and Wolf Ward and learned practical skills such as taking blood and catheterisation. I particularly enjoyed working in theatres; getting the theatre set up, getting patients ready, consenting them, taking them to the anaesthetist, and then being there to help the patients through to recovery.”
As part of the scholarship, James’s salary is paid for the duration of the 3 year programme with the apprenticeship levy covering the Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship university fees. James said: “I’m a big believer in, if you can, then you should try.”
“When my Placement Development Team Manager Henrietta Ferguson told me I’d been successful in my application, I was really honoured. I want to do the opportunity justice and do Katie and her family proud.
“I tell people about the opportunity I’ve been given and the reasons why and share Katie’s story with my fellow students.
“As a result of sharing her story, I can open conversations about wellbeing and signpost my peers and colleagues on the wards to support and help.
“As a student myself, I have so much support, from my apprenticeship tutor to my university tutor and all the support with academic work, when I need it. So far, the course has been brilliant.”
In addition to his studies and placement, James also keeps busy with shifts through NHS Professionals to get experience of all areas of the Trust. He said:
“I love working in the Emergency Department, as it’s quite different. Whereas on the ward I might take blood 25 times in a day, in ED, you’re doing it 25 times in an hour – you learn your skills and your trade when you’re working in the Emergency Department, and I really enjoy it.”
Katie’s Mum, Tracey, said: “Katie would love that she is helping someone to fulfil their ambition to be a nurse. Once again, we would like to say Thank You to UHP for their kindness and hard work in the last few years for all you have done to remember our daughter Katie.”
More information about Mental Health support for Healthcare Workers: