To celebrate our 10th birthday we will be highlighting some key moments and individuals from the last ten years. This month we’re delighted to introduce you to DMSF alumni, Rachel Massey.

Rachel joined DMSF in 2011, aged just 12. Now 22, Rachel is about to qualify as a nurse at Salford Royal NHS Trust and she also worked at specialist hospital, The Christie from 2016-2018.  We asked Rachel to reflect on her time with DMSF and how it influenced her life choices.

  • Previous school?
    Wright Robinson college
  • What are you doing now? 
    I currently go to the university of Salford and I’m studying adult nursing.
  • What sport if any do you do now and to what level? 
    I currently play rugby at amateur level, it’s a very good intensity of rugby and there are many talented women who play.
  • How did you get involved in DMSF?
    I got involved in DMSF because at school I was in a talented student programme for athletes. For years I played in goal for Manchester City and when Diane approached our school helping young talents in her athletics scheme, I was chosen to take part. At first we would do drills (top right) to help Diane understand what sporting event we would be best suited to.
  • Why did you decide to join DMSF?
    I wasn’t going to turn down such an opportunity to train with Diane [and the time she was dedicating] as well as the other coaches.
  • How many times a week did you train/get involved with DMSF?
    We trained about 1-2 times a week and eventually some of us were fed into external athletics groups.
  • What were you doing before you joined DMSF?
    Before I joined DMSF I was constantly training at my football team and taking part in lots of school sports teams.
  • What difference did attending DMSF make to you at the time?
    Attending DMSF made a difference because it gave me an external commitment and I didn’t want to let everybody down by not coming and not trying my best. DMSF made a huge difference, it kept me motivated and gave me a lot of self worth. Participating in the activities we’d do, growing in my own event and going on education trips helped me with me confidence and helped me decide what path to take. BEST of all we had FUN.
  • Do the DMSF values make any difference in your life today?
    (DMSF values = creating opportunities, acting with integrity, instilling resilience)
    It’s made a difference to my life today because DMSF gave us responsibilities, we had to make sure we were attending the training provided and as we got older we were offered positions in the club to help the younger ones coming in. This helped us develop skills to become leaders, and helped us gain confidence in speaking.
  • What did you enjoy most about the sessions?
    What I enjoyed most about the sessions were that we were all like a big family and I had such a good support network, with athletes and coaches.
  • What have you found challenging in your life and has your time with DMSF help make a difference?
    I found speaking to big crowds hard and challenging for me because I was quite shy, but Diane helped the more confident Rach come out and she would always tell me how good I was at what I do.
  • Where does your passion for sport come from?
    My passion for sport has always been there, it sounds crazy but I feel like I was born with it! Now all I ever want to do is play rugby and if anything ever happened to me, I would worry about not being able to play the next match.
  • What was most important for you being part of DMSF, the sport, the character development, being part of the team, taking part in competition, making friends – or anything else …
    For me, the most important part of being a DMSF athlete was the togetherness and feeling like you belong , it will always be in my heart and I thank the coaches eternally for their commitment and help.

We asked Rachel if she was involved in the care of patients during the Coronavirus crisis. Here’s what she told us.

Yes, I’m currently a student nurse and a support worker on the wards. Being a support worker (carer) allows me to earn money because you don’t get paid as a student, but I do it because I enjoy it and it keeps my clinical skills fresh when I’m not on placement.

The roles are very similar and we are both put at the same risk because we are taking care of patients. As a nurse, you can do a lot more medication-wise but when it comes to looking after someone, it’s the same principle. We are all there to work together, so it doesn’t matter what role you undertake, we’re all putting our lives at risk to help someone. 

As a 3rd year student nurse I’ve been given an option to undergo a paid placement and to go on to the emergency register, but I do more hours than I should and I wouldn’t be classed as supernumerary.  Or I can carry on doing what I’m supposed to normally, but that’s my choice. It’s a hard one to make and it will have to be decided soon.

The care doesn’t change, we have to do things like we normally would but at high risk and gowned up. That’s a duty we have to fulfil.

Rachel, we’re all so proud of you and everything you’ve achieved, and continue to achieve.