University is always something I had aimed for, however, I have three children who are all seven years apart. I felt at the age of 40 that it was the perfect time for me to come to university as I have lots of life skills I can now offer, I’m stable in my life with all my children either at school or at work, and I now have the time that it takes to commit to a nursing degree.
I chose to study at the University of Sunderland because I live locally and, as a parent, it was more convenient for me as I didn’t want it to affect my children’s lives too much. I initially applied to study mental health nursing and was accepted at several universities. However, this was the first year Sunderland ran the BSc (Hons) Children’s and Young People’s Nursing Practice degree, and I felt much more suited to that as it’s where my heart lies.
The course beginning in April also really helped me – as a parent, it's more staggered with the school start so I could get my children settled into their new term before starting my degree. It's also generally quieter on campus at that time of year compared to September, which is good for studying as more resources and books tend to be available. Now we're nearing the end of the course, I've started to apply for jobs, and being part of the May cohort, we've got an advantage in that we're not competing against other universities for employment.
My favourite part of the degree is the hands-on skills we learn; the practical experience we have not only in the University’s state-of-the-art simulation facilities, but also on placement, really helps to cement the course’s academic teaching.
The University of Sunderland is the best choice for me, as the academic staff are always on hand to support you through your studies. The facilities, simulation suites and mock wards also help to underpin your knowledge. It’s a university that really cares about its students.
My future aim is to work as a qualified children’s nurse in an acute setting, as this is where I have enjoyed my time most on placement.
My experience so far has been amazing. As a mature student, I was apprehensive about starting, but my age is never an issue within my cohort or within the University itself. I'm also a class representative and I use my skills as a mature student to shape our course for the future years. The academic staff are amazing, and as this is a new course at the University, everything has run smoothly. The lecturers really care; they support you through the highs and lows. Studying a degree, not to mention a nursing degree, is not easy. We face challenges, but the lecturers guide you through this and encourage you to grow. I feel that the staff see our potential when sometimes we don’t."
Published 23 October 2023