Biomedical Sciences student Stef Naczk was inspired to get involved in the covid effort by his NHS nurse mother who was working on covid wards.
An initial plan to help out at an Ayrshire care home for a month turned into a six-month stint, and he is now working at an Aberdeen care home after moving back up for his studies.
Stef, 20, says caring is a ‘challenging and rewarding’ job that has motivated him to pursue a career in medicine if possible.
“During the summer I went home to help out my mother as she is an NHS nurse in Ayrshire, working on covid-positive wards.
“While studying for my first-year exams I realised that my passion for my subject was becoming a little low due to online lectures and lack of practical tutorials. I was also fed up watching the news and wanted to do something to help like my mother.”
Stef had never worked as a carer before but managed to secure a place at a care home in Ayrshire called Windy Hall.
“It was tough working and learning the new role. There was a lot to take in, made more complicated by covid, and I was studying at the same time. But it was really eye opening."
Stef planned to work part-time at the care home for a month but ended up staying there for over six months, working a mixture part-time and full-time hours.
After moving back to Aberdeen for his studies, Stef took up an agency position to allow him to continue working in care on a part-time basis to allow for studying.
“I love caring, it’s such a challenging but rewarding job. I started it because I felt it was a good thing to do but now it’s a role that I’ve grown to love.
“I met so many amazing colleagues who really made the care setting a second home to me and I’m so thankful for the friendships I’ve made from it.
“The stories and skills I’ve gained have helped with my own mental health and degree and I feel it’s motivated me even more to study within the medical sciences. I’m even considering studying medicine one day if the chance permits.
“The pandemic has been challenging for me personally, especially when my mother caught covid, and I think everyone has had a really tough ride. But the thought of having a role where you help others certainly helped me through the pandemic.”