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STUDENT BLOG

Comment: Have you ever had to 'buddy up'?

  • 1 Comment

When I started university, apart from the fact that I couldn’t get my head around the fact I had started a degree, in my first week I was told by the lectures that we would be teamed up with a ’buddy’ and this would be a student in the second year of the programme

This meant that I would have to meet with this person - ultimately a stranger - and talk to them about my experiences and apprehensions.

As with many of the other 39 students in my cohort I asked what the point was, and why we couldn’t just speak to the lecturers. We were informed that we couldn’t be told how it would benefit us, but that we just had to engage in order to learn.

”My buddy was amazing, and so inspirational.”

So I had was paired up with a buddy. She arranged to meet me straight away and we exchanged numbers. I asked all the routine questions: what’s a portfolio? What can I expect from placement? I had thousands of questions flying around my head, anxieties festering, and an overall feeling of being overwhelmed by the entire situation.

My buddy was amazing, and so inspirational.

She would meet me regularly for supervision to discuss all manner of things with me related to the programme - after all, she had already been through it.

”Someone understood me. She didn’t judge, or talk jargon. She put me at complete ease.”

Having a more senior student to meet with and share all the good and bad things with was really amazing. Someone understood me. She didn’t judge, or talk jargon. She put me at complete ease.

Stage two of the programme came round so fast and all of a sudden, not only was I a supervisee, but now I was a supervisor to a first year; but I knew what I needed to do to achieve a similar rapport with the new student.

When we met for the first time all her questions were exactly the same as the ones I had been through not 12 months previous.

”We got along instantly and she found me to be such a useful support due to lack of it she was receiving from the buddy she had originally been allocated.”

I felt like an expert. I was able to show her my portfolio so she knew what kind of things to do. We discussed OAR, which to meet for the first time was incredibly daunting for me. She instantly looked up to me to support her through stage one challenges.

Later, I met another student and offered support to them during placement. Again, she was stage one and I was stage two. We got along instantly and she found me to be such a useful support due to lack of it she was receiving from the buddy she had originally been allocated.

”Developing these supervision skills at university has been of great benefit as it is a key part of a mental health nurse’s role.”

By the time she started year two and I began year three, she felt comfortable to contact me for further supervision. Having had similar experiences in practice, she found the use of supervision to be an excellent support and guide her in the direction she wanted to go in as she worked towards being an autonomous practitioner.

Developing these supervision skills at university has been of great benefit as it is a key part of a mental health nurse’s role. Further, I have developed my communication and active listening skills, which are imperative once out in practice.

Charlotte Mannix, student mental health nurse (Stage Three), University of Derby.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The role of a buddy in this situation has never occurred to me, but reading of your experience makes sense to me. I think for some people who would struggle with voicing their concerns or questions to their cohort or lecturers, a buddy would be so beneficial.

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