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A life-changing accident inspired a new career

Steven Ryan started out his career as a bricklayer but he unfortunately suffered a life-changing accident which left him unable to walk for two years.

However, despite the unfortunate circumstances, the accident and his recovery served as motivation for Steven to take a new direction in life. He credits the exceptional care he received from NHS staff as his inspiration for going into health care.

Starting a new journey

Steven’s ultimate goal is to become a nurse, so he can support others and make a difference to more lives, the same way those NHS staff did for him.

He is currently studying for a BSc in Adult Nursing with The Open University in Northern Ireland. Steven said:

“I am very proud to have the opportunity to studying nursing with The Open University – it has supported me in developing a career which I am passionate about.”

Making a difference

The Open University offers an alternative route into nursing, where Health Care Assistants and Support Workers can combine part-time studies with their day jobs. The OU trains more health and social care staff in this way than any other higher education provider, with more than 1,500 nurses having qualified through an OU nursing degree since it began in 2002.

By studying in this way, Steven can work towards his dream of being a Nurse, while still earning a salary and gaining essential experience working within a Trust. He explained:

“As a Health Care Support Worker, my course is sponsored by my employer – the Belfast Trust. This means I can study part-time alongside my job and keep my salary, allowing me to balance my studies with the other aspects of my life.”

“For me, the chance to become a nurse means I can make a difference and have a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Celebrating 50 years of changing lives

Steven features as part of a new photography collection taken by renowned British photographer Chris Floyd, to mark the OU’s 50th Anniversary.

Travelling around the UK to capture the remarkable stories of the OU today, Floyd’s 10 portraits have been released alongside a never seen before collection of images from the OU’s archive. See the rest of the inspirational students and alumni featured in our collection at

About Author

Liz works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She has over 15 years' marketing experience working across a range of sectors, from diamonds to shampoo. She has a BSc (Hons) in Management from UMIST. In her spare time, Liz is usually found on roller skates or off travelling, having adventures.

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