A Sheffield man has answered his calling and taken up a new career in nursing at the tender age of 57.

Dellroy Blake, a former planner and designer in a kitchen and bathroom showroom, has started his first Bank Nursing Assistant role with Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust (RDaSH).

Dellroy, who is in the final year of a four year Open University BSc (Honours) Mental Health Nursing Degree, said: “After being impressed with the level of nursing care in the Brambles Ward at The Woodlands during by placement, I decided that I wanted to become a member of the RDaSH bank staff.

“I gained experience of a number of different services at RDaSH. My placement covered acute care, psychiatry intensive care, rehabilitation and forensic settings. All of this broadened my nursing experience in supporting the teams at Swallownest Court in Rotherham and Tickhill Road site, Doncaster.

“Throughout my working life various people have told me that I should go into nursing because of my caring nature and people skills.

“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.

He said: “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 BSc (Honours) Mental Health Nursing Degree, where on my very first placement was introduced to RDaSH.

“Under the leadership of my mentor Maggie O’Malley and Kim Gostolo, Ward Manager, I was a privilege to join the team in providing person centred care for our patients. 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, I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you ladies.

“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.”

The Woodlands in Rotherham provides assessment and treatment for older people who are experiencing mental health conditions including depression and psychosis.