Taking a year out from her studies to improve her communication skills has proved life changing for Clary Wong.
During her third year at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), Clary struggled on placement, questioning whether she should pursue her chosen career in audiology.
But after creating a plan with supportive staff to boost her confidence and skills, not only did Clary enjoy a successful hospital placement but she was also offered a job there on qualifying.
The now Devon-based Audiologist said: "During my placement, certain aspects were pointed out to me that affected my prospects. The main one was communication, as I am not a talkative person.
"I felt uneasy when talking to patients in the hospital. The knock-on effect was that patients did not have confidence in the decisions I was making about their care.
"It was difficult as I did not want to give up on my ambition but I also had to face facts."
Clary, who chose Audiology because she wanted to make a difference to people's lives, met with Senior Lecturer Wendy Steven to discuss her future.
"We created a plan that involved taking a year out and finding ways to improve my communication skills and confidence. Wendy was very supportive," she said.
This was the best thing she could have done.
"It became the year that changed my life. I was busy volunteering with Sense and Age Concern and working in a family friend's café. They were great learning places for me," said Clary.
All that was missing was audiology, so despite having to commute from the family home in Lowestoft, Clary helped at Action Deafness in Leicester - where she had enjoyed volunteering opportunities through the Free Hearing Screenings project, devised by Wendy and delivered by #DMUlocal.
She also received coaching from DMU. "My counsellor was very supportive and made every session useful," said Clary.
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Thanks to her hard work, determination and progress, Clary was given another chance and started her final year over with a placement at a different hospital.
"I was over the moon, although I was aware I was going to be faced with many challenges," said Clary. "But I was up for it and determined to complete the course."
Clary was based at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. "I had mixed feelings," she said. "It was unknown territory for me and a long way from home and DMU.
"It took a while to settle in but with the help of the family I stayed with and all of the staff I felt very welcome.
"Lecturers and hospital staff were always making sure I was OK and everyone was patient."
Her placement proved an enjoyable and valuable experience. "I learnt so much about audiology and a lot about myself," she said.
"I learnt that I can face up to any challenge that is put in front of me."
She enjoyed it so much that after passing her exams she accepted a job at the hospital, a role that involves providing hearing assessments and advising patients about their hearing needs.
She added. "There are many people I want to say thank you to, from family and friends to teachers, lecturers and volunteers. They all supported and advised me, which I will never forget."
Posted on Thursday 29th March 2018