Brooke French's Story

Brooke's first step into nursing

When A Level student Brooke applied to study Mental Health Nursing at university, one of the things she spoke about at interview stage was her volunteer work at Braeburn Lodge Care Home.

Brooke started volunteering in September 2015 and visits Braeburn Lodge every other week to help out. She is usually found in the home’s Memory Lane Community for people living with dementia, where she spends time talking to people, playing games with them and helping staff run activities sessions.

“Volunteering takes up such a small amount of time but has such a positive impact. You can really make someone’s day. When I go in, we play games like Scrabble and Pairs, or sing along to music, or do craft activities – all sorts, really.”

Now that Brooke has secured a place at her first-choice university, she recognises that her volunteer work has played a big part in helping her to achieve her goals.

“Universities want to see you have some experience relevant to what you want to study and part of the reason why I started volunteering at Braeburn Lodge was because I knew I wanted to go on to study nursing at university.

Doing this volunteering has also shown me that nursing is definitely the right career for me. I love working with people and such a wide range of people. And it’s never boring, every day is different.”

But Brooke’s volunteer work means more to her than just a way to gain experience and knowledge: “It’s amazing to know that you are able to help someone. Even though the people with more advanced dementia don’t always know who I am, when someone says ‘thank you’ or just smiles, it’s a really lovely feeling.”

Brooke will continue volunteering at the home until she moves away to start her university course in August.