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Lecturer in the hotseat: Jackie Bridges, University of Southampton

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We asked Jackie Bridges, senior lecturer in nursing, the common mistakes student nurses make in their academic work, and the best ways to become a standout-nursing student

What’s your top revision tip for student nurses?

“Start early. Be aware of what your assignments are in each module; find out what is required of you. Find a suitable tutor and the support you need to get a good grade. Read the assignment brief and exam questions carefully. Some students ignore this, and read them quickly and then fail to produce essays on what has been asked for.”

What are the common mistakes student nurses make in their academic work?

“Delivering what is not required. Some students deliver essays late. Say if their essay is referred or failed, some choose to ignore the written comments and feedback. Some students need extra support for their reading or writing like dyslexia, but not everybody seeks help - it is really important to do. See what services are available.”

What are the best tips for writing essays?

“Always have a good structure - explain what you are writing about and summarise the conclusion. Make sure the points you make are a flow, and always use the referencing guidelines and citations.”

Name a top attribute every nurse should have in his or her written work?

“Thinking critical and being creative and not re-writing lecture notes - thinking intelligently and providing arguments and their own experiences, backing them with solid facts.”

Name two ways in becoming a standout-nursing student?

“Reading widely, including the research literature in your essay, not just reading policies and guidelines but also reciting the original research. Being patient and seeing an appreciation of the nursing perspective.”

Where should students go when they are feeling down or unsure?

“Students can speak with their personal tutors. They can visit student support offices, where they can receive counseling, accommodation help, advice on relationships, and dyslexia advice and information.”

 How can students become better student nurses?

“Being patient centered, putting them at the heart of everything they do. But also looking after themselves, when they are becoming stressed and require additional support.”

 What’s your overall advice to nursing students?

 “Confidence is very important. Ask for help; ask silly questions, feeling brave enough. But also have the confidence to stand your ground when you are right, when dealing with patients. One of the sayings we have on our curriculum is, have the heart to be a nurse, the nerve to ask questions and the brain to think about complex situations. Always have the heart to stand out and speak your mind.”

We talked to Jackie Bridges, senior lecturer in nursing at University of Southampton. She is a registered nurse and health visitor with a background of clinical practice, health services research and education, and organisational and practice development and education. Her education includes a first class Bachelor of Nursing honours degree at Manchester University, a Master of Science in nursing degree at University of British Columbia, Canada, a PHF in Health Services Research at City University, and a PG Certificate in Academic Practice.     

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