Laura’s Journey from Nursing to Counselling Victims of Sexual Violence

Nurses assume a pivotal role in today’s society, where empathy and understanding are crucial. But what happens when one specialist nurse’s passion for health and healing extends beyond the boundaries of traditional medical care? Meet Laura, a specialist nurse who has embarked on our Counselling Diploma Level 5 to follow her dream to become a therapist. As she branches out into the field of therapy, Laura’s dedication to helping others has expanded, leading her to volunteer with RoSA and gain valuable real-world experience. Today, we’ll chat with Laura as she shares her inspiring story of transitioning from nurse to therapist, the challenges she faces, and the profound impact the course has had on her personal and professional lives.

A Career Pivot

Laura certainly isn’t alone in feeling like her job wasn’t the dream role for her, as 52% of adults in the UK dream of changing careers, but she’s one of the brave few who chooses to make a change. The impetus came when she herself experienced the benefits of counselling first-hand. “When I decided to do the course, which was actually two years ago, I had been in counselling for quite a while.” Laura shared, “I was really struggling, and it was so fantastic what that lady helped me do. It was so profound; I was just in awe of her, and I was like, Wow, if I could even have a small percentage of the skills that she has, I knew I would improve as a person, as a nurse, and hopefully as a therapist.” After making the decision that becoming a counsellor was the path for her, Laura found our course online and enrolled, with some reservations when it came to accessing practical experience. “So when I decided, I was looking around, basically doing a Google search, and I knew that because it’s online, you can’t just do an online course and then go rogue,” she explained. “So I knew that I’d like to practise, and I knew that that would probably be some sort of long-term position alongside studying, which was when I reached out to RoSA.” Armed with her course and a goal to volunteer for one of the country’s best-regarded organisations for victims of sexual violence, Laura set off on her counselling journey.

Laura’s Experience Studying Online

Like many of our students, Laura chose to study with us because of her busy lifestyle. Balancing her work as a nurse, caring for her young family, and keeping up with scheduled in-person study and practical hours would have been overwhelming. Explaining her reasons for going online, Laura said: “Well, time constraints for one, because I work and have children. And the thing is, I’m pretty good at learning independently anyway. Some people can’t do this, and it’s not right for everyone, but after studying at the master’s level in nursing, I found it to work really well for me.” Laura felt as though the individual-led pacing of the course was ideal for her, and with the support of her tutor, Lee, she was able to work through her modules without too much stress. “You do it at your own pace as well, so it’s less structured.” She said, “I mean, don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be structured sometimes, but this is the biggest course I’ve done online, and I personally found it to be really good. Lee gave me loads of points, tips, and extra reading, which was really helpful.” As Laura worked through her units, she made sure to take extra notes and keep her assignments to give her references to return to later. “I’ve kept everything, basically, and I’m going back to it and re-reading it all at the moment.”

Despite having her own personal challenges to face, Laura pressed on, working as a nurse during the day and studying when she could find time. “I’m not a sort of typical healthy person. I’ve got a neurological condition, which makes it incredibly challenging for me to work full-time, so although I say I’m part-time, for me, energy-wise, it’s full-time.” She clarified, “I had to prioritise certain things energy-wise. On the weekends, I was able to either study the whole weekend or four to five hours during every day of the week, so it just varied. I’d always make sure I had at least one weekend a month with the kids doing stuff.” Thanks to the support of her husband, she was able to crack on with her studies largely uninterrupted, resulting in her having a counselling diploma under her belt in under a year.

As she worked through the Level 5 Counselling Diploma, Laura found herself using the skills she was learning in her everyday life. “The great thing has been that, well, both of my children have autism, but my youngest is a lot more affected, and he’s got a lot of speech problems as well. It’s been a funny thing; I’ve been practising my active listening skills with him, and it’s really helping me. It’s actually improving my relationship with him. It’s one of those things; it’s so specific, and you just don’t realise the impact of your listening skills when you’re at home or when you’re relaxing. I’m much more aware of what I do and what I say, and doing this course has really helped me with my son.”

Route to RoSA and Becoming a Therapist

While studying for her counselling diploma, Laura set her sights on volunteering with RoSA, a charity providing support for survivors of rape, sexual abuse, exploitation, and violence. Expecting to be turned away by them due to her lack of practical therapy experience, she decided to take the chance and apply. She was surprised to get an interview and even more delighted when they accepted her nearly on the spot. “So I went online looking for potential placements; that’s what I was looking for,” shared Laura. “But then, when I did the interview with RoSA, I said to them, of course I’m in training, but I want to be with you long-term. If you help me, I will stay with you. I was absolutely gobsmacked when they took me on.” Laura credits her background in nursing with helping to prove her compassionate qualities. She was elated with her new position. She went on to meet the rest of her cohort in training and was surprised to learn that she was one of the only trainees not to hold a master’s in counselling. “They were all doing master’s in counselling, most of the people that I’m working with now,” Laura explained. “You know, at university, not online. I was the only one who studied online!” Despite choosing a non-traditional path, it was reassuring for Laura to see she could achieve her dream.

RoSA provided Laura with all the training she needed to start helping victims face-to-face, and soon enough, she was assigned her first client as a volunteer therapist. “RoSA has been fantastic, and they do have some counsellors who are paid, but most of us are volunteers or new students. They’ve assigned us clients who are not too complex; I’m not allowed at this point to have access to people who have complex issues, like complex PTSD. However, they have given me a client, and I’ve built up a really good rapport already. Things are falling into place because we’ve had quite intensive training with RoSA as well, so I’m hoping as time goes on I’ll start to feel a lot more confident.”

Words of Wisdom and Looking to Her Future

With the Counselling Diploma Level 5 under her belt and her position with RoSA beginning, it’s looking like a very bright future for Laura and her clients. She couldn’t be more excited to start making a difference in their lives, and she’s looking forward to developing her career as a therapist. “So at the moment, I can have up to 30 sessions with my clients, which is amazing, and it’s all free for them!” Laura exclaims, “I’m aiming for, maybe in a year or eighteen months, if I’ve got enough experience and skill sets, then I could potentially be employed as a telephone or online therapist, and then see how things go. I’m so lucky that I’ve gotten access to the placement that I have. I really recommend for people who are embarking on an online course to find somewhere like I have, where you’re probably volunteering, but you’ve got that access to clients.”

We’re extremely proud of Laura’s achievement of not only the Counselling Diploma Level 5 but also her transition to volunteering at RoSA. It’s amazing to see our former students start to make a difference in the world, and we know Laura will have an amazing impact on the lives of her clients.

If you can relate to Laura’s story, have a keen interest in counselling, or just want to know more about our Level 5 Counselling Diploma, please follow this link to the course page.

Maybe your interests lie more in teaching, accounting, or nutrition. We offer high-quality, nationally recognised courses to suit a wide range of passions. Please follow this link to our course catalogue to learn more.

To read more inspiring stories from our alumni, click here to visit our blog.

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