At BCG, we have many incredible nurses working to be provide the very best care for our residents every day. And, every one of our nurses’ journey into nursing is unique. Some went straight to college or university to train as soon as they left school. Others came into nursing later. Many were carers first or had whole other careers before they discovered nursing.

Then there are the people who are born to be nurses, but life gets in the way.

Meet Lysette Ingram. Lysette worked in hospitality for many years, predominantly in restaurants. After her son was born, a move from Edinburgh to more rural Coupar Angus saw the beginning of a remarkable journey for Lysette which all began when she decided to apply for a job at the local care home.

After becoming a Care Assistant at Coupar Angus Care Home in 2022, Lysette found her calling. “It’s literally my favourite job! I wish I had done it when I was younger,” she says. “I think, coming from hospitality and working in restaurants, you can relate to the longer shifts, the work ethic and the camaraderie you build with your colleagues. In both industries you are helping people, so there’s lots of cross over.”

Lysette quickly began to shine as a Care Assistant, showing an outstanding aptitude for care. It was only when Lysette was on a training course, that she heard about a way to potentially train to be nurse while continuing to earn her wages.

“I didn’t think nursing was a possibility for me because I couldn’t afford not to work. I had looked into it, but there’s no way I couldn’t be earning. I was actually on a Manual Handling training course at work and I got chatting to a lady who told me about a course she was doing through the Open University that was funded, so you were still paid while training. I didn’t believe her at first! I kept saying to her ‘You get paid?!’”

Lysette then spoke with her then Home Manager, Morag Shea, who looked into the opportunity and confirmed that it was a course that allowed Lysette to keep working for Coupar Angus Care Home with her salary paid by the Scottish Government while she trained through the Open University.

A hugely competitive course, the next step was for Lysette to apply. “I decided straight away I wanted to go for it. It was quite a tricky application – it was a bit like going back to school! I had to write an essay, a personal statement and a few other things. Then, I got in!”

Lysette is one of just six students who were given places across Tayside. A four-year course, Lysette is well under way in her first year. “Now that I’ve started the course, I’m so glad I have been a carer first. It has given me a really good understanding of what it is to care for somebody. After all, nursing is all about care and many of the nurses I’ve met on my placements have said it’s really good to have worked in care first.”

The flexibility and financial support the Open University course has offered has made all the difference to Lysette, proving that anything is possible.

“Because the Open University has been online forever they’re very good at it. They have a dashboard you log into with all your resources, lots of reading, videos, audio along with essays and assignments. It works for me because its home based. I can look after my son, it makes things easier.”

What’s also great is that Lysette gets to keep returning to Coupar Angus Care Home, the place it all began, during her training. “During the four-year course, students go back to their base employer for their final placement each year. So, I get to return to Coupar Angus. It’ll be a little strange being a student, wearing the grey nursing uniform, but I know I will learn so much from the Senior Carers and nurses there.”

As we mark International Nurses Day, Lysette is full of enthusiasm and excitement for the future as a nurse. “I keep telling people about the 6Cs of nursing – Care, Compassion, Courage, Communication, Commitment and Competence. As a nurse, I will strive to be all of these to the best of my ability. I’ve realised these qualities don’t just apply to nursing, and I try to live by them in all walks of life.”

One thing Lysette is certain of is that becoming a carer is the best way to find out if nursing is the right career for you. “If you know you are a good carer then you know you are going to be a good nurse.”