NHS frontline worker conquers her speech challenges

Jessica went on to become an Emergency Department Nurse despite her stutter and is now able to communicate effectively.

Jessica beats stutter to become a nurse

Jessica overcomes Stammer to become an Emergency Department Nurse

My name is Jessica, I am 25 years old and my first course on The McGuire Programme was in August 2018 at Wembley, London. 


I first contemplated joining the programme when I was around 12 years old. However, I wasn’t ready and I knew it was going to be too emotional for me to cope with. When I finally bit the bullet… my first course I attended was in the summer of 2018. I was a nervous wreck, masking this with smiles and ‘confidence’.  

At the time of my first course, I was half way through an Adult Nursing degree at the University of Nottingham. I would say, still by this point I was in very much the denial stage about how much my speech ruled my life and genuinely made me sad.

I attended the course thinking I was ‘fine’ and I didn’t need any help, but when the course started it became apparent that my stutter controlled me and I didn’t control my stutter. I knew something needed to change.

As the days went by during the course, it slowly started to make sense - the techniques we were using and the concepts actually work! Don’t get me wrong, you get out of the course what you put in. 

After the course I felt pride to be someone working hard to overcome my stutter. I met so many amazing people and we all had one thing in common - we were all working to overcome our stutter. Joining the course doesn’t eradicate the stutter but it sure does change your life. You have a first aid box mentally and physically and allows you to do things you never thought you could. 

Looking back on younger years, I had always had an interest in hospitals and medical stuff. However, with my stammer, it was never something I bothered pursuing because I thought how can I be a medical professional when I have a stutter?! However, as time went on and had a few career changes I decided I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way. It was really tough before the McGuire Programme, training to be a nurse, but I was happy enough in my own bubble and safety net.

…and then I joined the McGuire Programme and I realised I could be better and I will be better! After the course I felt like I could do anything speech wise. I had this new zest for life and the confidence for public speaking. This feeling doesn’t stay forever and I do get ‘bad’ days but with the support network around me I succeed when I focus and remember why I joined the programme in the first place.

The programme genuinely cares and wants YOU to succeed in all you do. The programme tailors everything to the individual, whatever needs you may have - they will be there and do everything in their power to help you. Something that has made me so proud and grateful to be on the programme is the fantastic continuing support network which will you will forever have, once a member.

I work in the Emergency Department, never in a million years did I think I could be a nurse, never mind a nurse in ED (may I add, starting my career in the midst of a pandemic!!) Communication is key in nursing and without the programme I think I would have given up. 

There are two occasions in which I would like to reflect on:

1.      My Grandpa’s funeral speech (February 2017) prior to The McGuire Programme -  My speech was incoherent and my stutter had control of me.

2.     My Nonno’s (oither Grandfather) funeral speech (May 2020)  post The McGuire Programme - The best my speech has ever been, I was in CONTROL, I controlled the stutter it didn’t control me.

Need I say no more!

This meant so much to me because my Nonno was a massive influence on me joining the programme, I know I did my Nonno SO proud. 

I am forever grateful for The McGuire Programme.

Jessica Whitworth