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Kay Billingsley

MSc Nursing (Mental Health)

Alumni Kay Billingsley outside Edge Hill's Main Hall.

Anyone who is thinking of entering academia, but wants to keep the feeling of ‘home’, should consider Edge Hill. That’s why I keep coming back!

“Coming back to Edge Hill always feels like coming back home.”

Kay left her nursing career in 1995 to work in the social care sector, realising that she wanted to pursue a more holistic way of approaching healthcare, and explore the links between nutrition and disease.

Kay admits that she was scared to come to university as a mature student and with a L3 BTEC qualification, but those worries were dispelled when she came in for an interview and immediately felt that she would be supported.

Fast forward to 2012, Kay enrolled onto the Nutrition and Health programme as a commuter student and a single mother. Kay told us: “I never felt alone and loved that there was a diverse cohort of students, wherever you were someone always smiled at you. The tutors really supported me and gave me the confidence that I needed to go on and complete my PGCE in 2015”.

Kay’s self-confidence rocketed following the course and despite no prior experience in teaching, she very quickly became programme leader for Nutrition and Health at Hugh Baird College. She says: “I felt that from Edge Hill I had the tools to make a difference, and couldn’t wait to share my knowledge and passion with the students.” However, throughout her own and teaching and in her experience in working in the social care and nursing sector, one issue kept arising that she didn’t feel fully equipped to handle and advise on: mental health.

“Nurses and students on my course frequently had burn-out and forgot that they needed to take care of themselves as well as their patients. I wanted to ensure that I was able to help and advise them effectively, so I returned to Edge Hill for the third time to complete my Masters in Mental Health Nursing.”

Kay is due to complete her programme in January 2024 and has some ambitious plans about influencing the world of holistic and person-centred care, hoping to put together some modules on mental health and how nutrition can affect conditions such as dementia (which Kay’s close family member has recently been diagnosed with). She also hopes to influence the pharmaceutical industry to play a bigger part in replacing medicines with supplements.

“Anyone who is thinking of entering academia, but wants to keep the feeling of ‘home’, should consider Edge Hill. That’s why I keep coming back!”