As the UK-wide coronavirus lockdown reaches into May and more than 100 NHS staff and healthcare workers have lost their lives to Covid-19, our school pays tribute to our many former students who are working in the NHS and health care sectors.

This group of young people chose a career in health or care after studying the subject at school. Many are now working for NHS England as nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and social workers, the list goes on. Little did they realise that they would become part of a huge army of personnel fighting to save lives in a global pandemic, for which there is currently no cure.

This article aims to highlight some of the many professionals who first forged their health care careers at Brooksbank. Some have built well-established careers in the sector and some are currently fledgling carers in training. We are so proud to call them our own!

Claire Doran studied Nursing at Leeds University after leaving Brooksbank’s Sixth Form in 2003. Claire qualified with a DipHE in 2007, and worked as a Paediatric Staff Nurse at Calderdale Royal Hospital where she consolidated her nurse training and gained experience in many areas of children’s nursing such as surgical, orthopaedic and general medical care. Five years later, Claire moved to Australia to work as a Paediatric Staff Nurse at Sydney Children’s Hospital and Brisbane Children’s Hospital.

Seven years later, Claire relocated to the Channel Island of Jersey, to work in general paediatrics while she studied for a Professional Practice BSc (Hons) Degree. In 2016, she became a Paediatric Oncology Nurse Specialist and the following year, she began studying for an MSc professional practice.

Claire says, “I feel so privileged to be a nurse and proud of my achievements. 2020 is the Year of the Nurse, however it is a very frightening unpredictable time for us all.”

Sarah Horsfield left Brooksbank in 2008 and enrolled on a child care course at college. Sarah then studied for a Degree in Paediatric Nursing at University of Huddersfield. Following her graduation, she began working at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, on the neonatal unit at St James’. She now works as a Ward Sister on the same unit, where her typical day shift lasts 12.5 hours.

Sarah says, “Days can be long, busy and stressful, especially at the moment, however our team of doctors, nurses, nursery nurses, CSW, ward clerks and the wider multidisciplinary team are all amazing and supportive of one another, which makes these tough times that little bit easier.

My job, although tough at times is extremely rewarding and with the current situation, new guidance and restrictions on visiting, there are new challenges everyday. I feel very honoured to continue caring for the babies and families on the unit and support them through their journey.”

Beth Crossley is a Staff Nurse in the intensive care unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital.

Beth says, “Caring for someone who is unconscious and unable to breath for themselves is one of the most trusted positions to be in; that person and their family are depending on you and your team to keep them alive. Keeping our patients alive is something we fight to do each and every day. We often succeed, but sadly, sometimes we do not. There is no greater sadness than someone dying from Covid-19 without family members by their side; to be holding someone’s hand in their final moments is an honour, but also a great tragedy.

On the flip side, after caring for an unconscious patient for two weeks, to have them stable and well enough to wake up is a tremendous joy to everyone, not just family, but the medical staff as a whole.”

Megan Ross left Brooksbank in 2012 and is now a Senior Therapeutic Radiographer treating cancer patients in Leeds.

Ceri Boddis left Brooksbank in 2013 and is now a Staff Nurse at Leeds Children’s Hospital in the kidney and liver transplant unit.

We would like to thank Claire, Sarah and Beth for taking the time to contribute at length to this article and all our former students who sent updates and images of themselves at work during the coronavirius pandemic.


We are so proud of you all and we know that your wonderful work will be an inspiration to our students who are considering a career in the health care sector.