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'How will I fit in socially with 18 year olds?'

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Jillian shares the worries she felt starting her nursing course as a mature student


Jillian Innes

Firstly, congratulations on getting this far on your journey to becoming a nurse. 

I remember this time last year when I was just starting this incredible time. Thinking back, I had a lot of worries that can still creep up on me now.

As a mature student with a family of my own, some of my worries won’t apply to everyone, but some fears we all share. 

I was worried about fitting into university life on both an academic and social level. I couldn’t help asking myself:

“How will I fit in socially with 18 year olds?”

“Will I be able to go back to the classroom and actually understand the work?”

“What if I can’t keep up with the exams, and especially the essays?” 

It turns out I was capable of more than I gave myself credit for.

My cohort is full of students from all walks of life, there’s a variety of ages, students straight out of school and those who have come into nursing after pursuing another career first. But we all shared the same issues and concerns, and probably you do too.

“I have so much more confidence in myself that my mentors are seeing this in me”

I was scared about placements and doubted my ability to effectively start a new job for a number of weeks three times a year. Something I’ve learnt everyone feels nervous about. But I quickly realised that the nurses out there on the job were once in our position and are understanding and welcoming - by the end of each placement they won’t want to leave! 

Another scary prospect about placement was the worry of being a good student nurse and being able to put all my academic theory and clinical skills into practice. Now don’t get me wrong as a student nurse going into 2nd year I still worry about this however I have so much more confidence in myself that my mentors are seeing this in me, but don’t forget no-one expects you to know everything. You are there to learn.

“Not everyone is easy to look after, but as far as I am concerned that’s what makes this career more interesting and satisfying”

I have met some of the most interesting and fantastic nurses however for me best bit is meeting patients and hearing their life stories, especially the older generation. Not everyone is easy to look after, but as far as I am concerned that’s what makes this career more interesting and satisfying. Some of the patients I have met have been very funny, I once had a patient have a good laugh at my expense by pretending I had caused them pain, so be prepared for anything!


You are about to start a very hard and exciting journey. I’m still on that journey but the last year of my life has gone by in a flash. I have loved every minute of it, even the tough times, as when you come out the other end you realise what you have learnt and accomplished. 

The best advice I can give you is to give it your all and enjoy every minute. When it gets tough just keep going: as long as your heart is in it you can do it.

Good luck everyone!


Jillian Innes is in her second year studying adult nursing at Stirling University

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Hi Im a second year mature student, had a few struggles this year. Absolutely love the elderly, when im with them they make me smile and i make them smile.... To go home when a patient has said "i wish all nurses were like you" keeps me going... Roll on 2016

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