Before university I was a volunteer at a day centre for adults with complex disabilities. I witnessed a wide range of disabilities and was fortunate enough to get involved in their day-to-day activities, from going out bowling, to simply sitting down with a cup of tea and doing a jigsaw. I loved my time there and realised I wanted to do more from the practical side of things.
I chose to study at the University of Sunderland because a friend who had graduated from there told me about the nursing courses they offered. I was told the course was amazing and the team were very supportive of students who may struggle, and as I tend to struggle taking information in at first, I thought it was nice that support was available if I needed it. I had also heard that the teaching on the course was great and the practice placements were even better. I was pretty much sold on which university I wanted to apply to.
Starting the course was scary and I admit I was quiet and shy when I started my first placement. However, as time progressed I began to feel more comfortable and a part of the team, rather than just a student on placement. The placements are my favourite part of the course as I have always preferred practical activities over the theory – although I do realise the importance of needing the theory before practice. I love interacting with the patients and the staff, I feel like I learn more and that I’m getting the most out of my university experience. The placements have also helped me improve my communication skills and built my confidence. The skills I’ve learned on the course are also essential in everyday life.
My advice to future nursing students would be to use your time wisely. If you have work to do, do it! Make sure you are always on top of your work because once placements start, things get a bit more stressful and more difficult to manage. However, when times are tough, the support from your tutors and friends is a life saver. You will feel a great sense of relief and satisfaction when you hand in your work, it is honestly so worth it. Another piece of advice I would give is to proofread your work before you hand it in. I know the struggle of just wanting to hand in a 3,500-word essay that you have spent what feels like a lifetime on, but proofreading is something everyone should do – I have made many little mistakes that could have potentially ruined something important.
My personal experience at the University of Sunderland so far has been a mix of emotions. There has been good times and bad times, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the staff and students have all been amazing and so supportive of each other. Overall, I would say the course has been incredible and I have loved it.”
Published 26 November 2020