James is featured in our ‘Humans of LJMU’ series in collaboration with the ‘Humans of Liverpool’ social media account, sharing the stories of the people who make our city, communities and university the vibrant, inclusive place it is in celebration of our bicentenary year.
James hails from Northern Ireland, a place that has an important link with LJMU as we have the most students from Northern Ireland of any other English university. He' a recent mental health nursing graduate, and alongside hundreds of other nursing students, went above and beyond during the Covid-19 health crisis to support the NHS – something he reflects on in his interview.
“When I returned to Liverpool to work in a hospital ward, Covid was at its peak, and I had to quickly learn to cope with loss. It was like packing years of graduate nursing experience into one student year. I'd rather not have had been through that because of the people we lost. But I take solace in the fact I was able to help, and I think it will certainly make me a better nurse going forward.”
– James Savage
James’ ‘Humans of LJMU’ interview
"I’ve always believed that you should grab anything that comes your way and try to seize every opportunity. Back in my hometown, there was a lot of anti-social behaviour around my county, so the council asked me to lead on a youth forum and a cross-community youth group organising summer schemes. The MP for the area mentioned the youth parliament was coming up and that I should apply. I ended up running for two terms, so I spoke twice in the House of Commons. It was a great experience and not something that many get to do.
“After that, the plan was to study politics at university. During my first year of A Levels, I used to volunteer at a nursing home, sitting and talking to the people there. There were a few veterans and former politicians. All sorts of walks of life. I loved it because I'm fascinated by history. I'd already applied to do politics and had five offers on the table. I declined them all and decided I'd apply to do nursing the year after.
“I took that open approach, to give everything a go into university. I represented the student committee for the Royal College of nursing. With 11 universities in North West England, I represented the largest number of students on the committee. We try to help students have more confidence and feel supported in everything they do.
“When the call came to ask student nurses to come and join the NHS to help with the first Covid outbreak, I was back in Northern Ireland working at the care home, rushed in to help just as I was about to start my second year. I had just caught the virus and then my grandmother passed away from it, so it was a really tough time for me personally. When I returned to Liverpool to work in a hospital ward, Covid was at its peak, and I had to quickly learn to cope with loss. It was like packing years of graduate nursing experience into one student year.
“I'd rather not have had been through that because of the people we lost. But I take solace in the fact I was able to help, and I think it will certainly make me a better nurse going forward.”