Dean Wood is a Nurse Practitioner at a Minor Injuries Unit in South Wales. Choosing nursing was a big career change for Dean after he spent 15 years working in the coal mines. But unwavering support from his peers and NHS Wales has allowed him to gain the qualifications needed to pursue his ambition of nursing in Wales. He
“I left school without qualifications at the age of 16 to start working in the coal mines. As part of my training, I needed a first aid certificate and this really sparked my interest for working in a health environment. I ended up working in the miner’s first aid team and after the coal mines closed in 1991 it became clear to me that I wanted to work in a hospital helping others.
“After contacting my local hospitals, I was invited for an interview at the University Hospital of Wales in South Wales. At this point I had no formal qualifications, but my new colleagues could see how passionate I was about nursing and helped me through my initial training. The nursing community really help each other in Wales. I became a Health Care Support Worker in the Emergency Unit and could see a lifetime of learning opportunities ahead of me.
“I was then offered a position as a Minor Injuries Coordinator, and my management team helped support me financially through university until I became a fully qualified nurse. It wouldn’t have been possible to advance without their assistance and the opportunity to progress. In my current role as a Nurse Practitioner, I diagnose patients in the minor injuries unit, write prescriptions and then discharge the patients. I’ve gained so much experience from the support and guidance of NHS Wales. My personal aim is to become a band 7 nurse by the time I retire, and with the clear route to advanced practice that’s available here, I believe it’s achievable.
“Outside work, I enjoy playing golf with friends and watching Wales play rugby. There’s so much to do in Wales, whether it’s a trip to the beach or a walk along the Brecon Beacons National Park.
"Working with NHS Wales means you’re supported in whatever career path you decide to take. I’m proud of where my career has taken me – it’s amazing what you can achieve with the right support along the way.”