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Bournemouth Uni third years guide you through your first year

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Who best to provide their “top tips” than a group of nurses who are about to graduate?

During the course of their three years of academic study and clinical placements a group of Bournemouth University nursing students have developed the skills to become professional nurses of the future and are about to graduate.

You can follow in their footsteps by listening and acting upon their tops tips for surviving the journey to become a nurse:

  • “Don’t panic and take things one step at a time.”
  • “We all need a social life, however if you prioritise your workload from the beginning it will help you through, this is adult learning - it’s your call.”
  • “Be prepared for lectures and seminars, as well as reading through any notes you make throughout the lesson.”
  • “Try to get your academic work finished a good week before it is due in - you then have time to correct any mistakes or make changes without panicking.”
  • “Get an Anatomy and Physiology book and keep reading it throughout the three years.”
  • “Learn as much knowledge about anatomy and physiology, pharmacology etc. as early as possible, so you can understand more about your patient’s conditions and their treatments.”
  • “If you know you have or might have dyslexia arrange to see your Additional Learning Needs team as soon as possible; they don’t bite and are a great help.”
  • “Start assignments as soon as you get them, or at least start thinking about them and planning.”
  • “Library sessions on using data bases and learning other skills are invaluable. Don’t neglect to use the help of the librarians.”
  • “Have a study buddy as you can help to inspire each other.”
  • “Support one another, we all learn in different ways! Use the opportunity to gain support from individual/group tutorials, be prepared when you arrive so that you can gain the most from them.”
  • “Do not be afraid to speak out if you do not understand something as there are probably others in the same situation.”
  • “Talk to your university friends about any fears with University work, you are all in the same boat and you get the best advice from people who really understand.”
  • “Make sure you know who and where to get help and advice from. Lecturers have different areas of expertise and by asking for their help you learn a lot and this really assists you for your future. It is not a failing to ask for help; it is beneficial.”
  • “Talk with other students, nurses and lectures as they have either been there or done it or are going through the same dilemmas as you are.”
  • “Always try and visit your placement before you start there.  Ring and arrange a quick tour with your mentor, it makes your first day on placement much less scary and you can also read up on conditions that you will be treating on that particular ward.”
  • “Always carry a notebook in your pocket at placement.”
  • “Don’t rely on the fact that you’re a student. Start thinking about how you would manage patient care and be responsible for the ward as the qualified nurse as soon as possible.”
  • “Make the most of being a student.  Go and watch procedures such as MRI + CAT scans, operations (if able) and spend time with specialist nurses, you’ll learn loads.”
  • “In practice - be the student who is willing and keen to learn.  Be pro-active with your learning and show that you are capable of researching stuff for yourself.  If people see you are taking a real interest they are enthusiastic about teaching you more.”
  • “Don’t think that washing a patient is not useful to your learning.  You’d be surprised what you can find out about your patient when you are having this one-to-one time.”
  • “Get to know as many of the people on placement you work with as possible. It makes it easier to work with them and more enjoyable.”
  • “When in placement work with your mentors at every opportunity, be open and honest with them, if you are struggling, speak to them!  They want you to be the best you can be, you are the future of nursing and they are proud to be part of that by assisting you in your development.”
  • Enjoy. Three years seems a long time, I don’t know where the time has gone, but I do know that I have had some fantastic placements and met some very special friends along the way both at university and on placement, who will continue to be a big part of my life personally and professionally for many years to come.”

Cate Wood is an Academic Adviser for third year students at Bournemouth University.


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