The former bathroom designer from Sheffield who has become a nurse aged 57

Dellroy Blake spent years designing bathrooms before retraining as a mental health nurse in his fifties. Catherine Scott reports.

Dellroy Blak who has become a mental health nurse aged 57

A former bathroom and kitchen designer has changed career to become a nurse at the age of 57.

Grandfather Dellroy Blake from Sheffield has started his first Bank Nursing Assistant role with Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust at its Woodlands unit.

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“Throughout my working life various people have told me that I should go into nursing because of my caring nature and people skill,” says Dellroy, who is in the final year of a four year Open University BSc (Honours) Mental Health Nursing Degree.

“I have always been interested in helping and supporting people. During my time working in the kitchen and bathroom showroom, I noticed a young man being disadvantaged by his peers. On intervening I established that he was unemployed and offered him the opportunity to work in the showroom for a couple of weeks doing some cleaning work which he did. He turned up every day and during that time I realised that he had a learning disability.

“He did a good job and I like to think that I boosted his confidence and provided him with some job opportunities in the future.”

Dellroy was involved in the Wilfward Family Trust, a charity providing respite care for parents with challenging young people.

“The charity work made me realise that I enjoyed supporting people. Although I wanted to go into nursing, I wasn’t in the position to leave my current employer. Eventually, when the time was right, I joined an agency and started working for a private forensic mental health hospital. It was during this time that one of the doctors noticed that I had the right people skills and attributes for nursing. I was encouraged to apply for the Open University degree, where on my very first placement was introduced to RDaSH.

“It has been an amazing and challenging journey, especially being a mature student and returning to education. The staff are so empathetic, caring and compassionate,” says the father-of-three who has just celebrated his 30th wedding anniversary.

“Age is just a number and it shouldn’t put you off changing careers. I am now doing a role which I am very passionate about. I can see the positive difference it makes to people’s lives. It’s fulfilling and enjoyable and I would recommend nursing to anyone.”