Nursing student completes an intensely personal mission at UON
Lauretta Ofulue decided to become a Learning Disability Nurse following the death of her son Otito. Otito was born with an inherited metabolic condition that made him very unwell and meant frequent hospital trips for the whole family
Although the hospital trips were emotionally draining, Lauretta and Jerry felt the care Otito received was second to none, particularly from learning disability nurses. So much so, it inspired Lauretta to become a nurse herself, studying at the University of Northampton to become one of the professionals who helped her and her family so much.
About her life-changing decision, Lauretta, who graduated from her degree in Learning Disability Nursing in 2021, says: “I want to be there for that mum, dad, or carer. I want to give a voice to those people in society who are easily overlooked because they understand the world differently. I want to help others understand and uphold the rights of people with learning disabilities and their families. I see the care I provide as a privilege.”
Now, with her first degree successfully under her belt, Lauretta has decided to stay with UON as a postgraduate student, studying the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) course.
She adds: “I felt very happy when I concluded my undergraduate degree. It was quite challenging with the COVID lockdown, but the University was fantastic. They supported students and it was amazing how very quickly the processes and methods of lecture delivery were swiftly adapted to being mostly online and helped us cope with every level of uncertainty Covid threw at us.
Lauretta explains why she decided to add to her academic skills: “As a Learning disability (LD) nurse with experience caring for a loved one, I know that families with children who have complex health or learning needs require a heightened level of support. Getting it right early stops things from getting worse. It also means that plans can be made to manage problems as they emerge and stop them from escalating.
“Staying at UON attests to the brilliance of the university and I was delighted to find out the course I wanted to study was offered here. I wanted to continue learning with the tools that supported my learning through my BSc. For example, the electronic library system and virtual support from librarians, and the interactive lectures that I had grown to love and trust. My postgraduate study was my ultimate endeavour and I needed stability and that is something that UON has delivered to me consistently.
“The SCPHN programme will consolidate my existing knowledge and skills by widening my scope as a learning disability nurse. It also proves that being a learning disability nurse creates the same professional and clinical opportunities as any other branch of nursing.”
Lauretta continues about what role she sees herself having when she has finished her postgraduate course: “I feel quite fortunate I’m studying for the course at a time of heightened awareness of public health as an issue. We have learnt a lot about health promotion, protection, and early interventions. We are also becoming experts at considering things from a population-based angle and so we have learnt about evidence-based decision-making processes, creating community health profiles, and undertaking health needs assessments to aid information gathering and justify interventions.
“I encourage anyone eligible for the role to register. The course has been very interesting and enlightening. UON is an excellent choice because topics selected for inclusion in the course are directly relevant to the role.
“When I have graduated, I will be a health visitor working directly with children aged 0–5 and their families. Working with the families is very exciting because that automatically expands the scope of my work beyond children.”
Concluding this part of her story, Lauretta says: “I feel rewarded and able to give back to a service that gifted me four years with Otito. It is work like this that makes my experiences with him worthwhile and not filled with grief. Working for the NHS has provided me with a positive way to redefine the life-changing experience of losing my beautiful son.”