A FORMER professional footballer turned student nurse faced his toughest challenge to date on the first day of his placement in a busy casualty department.

Within minutes at being at Manchester Royal Infirmary University of Bolton student Anthony was involved in dealing with a young man who had been involved in an accident with a lorry and was in cardiac arrest.

Although the young man sadly died, Jayne Rogers, Sister in the Accident and Emergency department at MRI, said she had been impressed by Anthony’s professionalism throughout.

In another incident he assisted teams while they opened up a patient’s chest in A&E after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Now Anthony, who recently started his second-year on the Adult Nursing Degree, was awarded a certificate of achievement for his placement at the Manchester Royal Infirmary emergency department.

The 37-year-old received the award for his exceptional professionalism and dedication as a student nurse.

Anthony, who was on Leeds Utd’s books as a teenager, said: “I have always felt that I wanted do something that involved helping or caring for people.

“When I was a footballer, we continued our education so I had the qualifications to be able to get into university and I always wanted to get a degree.

“The small class sizes at Bolton really attracted me and I am loving the course. It just feels so natural to me. I enjoy getting up and want to be there every day. It is great.”

He added: “My placement in Manchester was a real baptism of fire. It has helped to prepare me, because when you are in A&E you never know what will come in next. You have to be ready for anything and everything.

“I have never experienced the rewarding feelings I have when working in that department. I absolutely love it.”

Jayne said: “Anthony didn’t stand back and got fully involved. He has also shown care and compassion to the elderly, mentally unwell and those with drug and alcohol issues and doctors of all grades have commented on how good he is and how progressed he is for a second year.

“Members of staff who have observed or mentored him in my absence have praised him highly.

“I cannot speak highly enough of Anthony’s commitment and talent whilst in the department.”

Danielle Ellis, lecturer in Adult Nursing at the University of Bolton’s Faculty of Health and Well-being, said: “We are all very proud of Anthony. To witness what he did as a nursing student, and yet to react in the way he did, was exceptional.

“These placements for our adult nursing students are so important as the hospital staff get to know our students really well, working side by side every shift, and the students learn what it is like in a busy department day to day.

“It is a great opportunity for them and hugely increases their employability.”