We were overwhelmed not just by the quantity of applications we had for these posts, but by the enthusiasm and passion that every applicant showed.
Choosing our new student editors was no easy feat. Every applicant had something about them that stood out and, without exception, a genuine passion for nursing. The four who made it through were chosen not just for their writing ability, but for their commitment to helping and supporting the student nurse community.
They will be representing their respective branches of nursing through a weekly blog exploring issues affecting the student nurse community; they’ll be making regular appearances at twitchats and will be committed to answering your questions and offering support where they can.
And here they are:
Mental Health branch – Katie Sutton
“I’m Katie and I’m studying mental health nursing at the University of Salford. I’m “fresh meat” at the moment having only started my course in March this year, but I’m absolutely loving my experience so far – it’s everything I expected and more. I became passionate about mental health after surviving depression myself and seeing friends go through various conditions. Seeing the reactions that people and the media have to mental illness made me realise I could truly make a difference by retraining as a mental health nurse.
“Now, whenever anyone asks me how my course is going I come out with some variation on ‘brilliant, so fulfilling!’ and that’s really the only way to describe it. I’m looking forward to the next two and a half years of learning how to help people with mental health conditions overcome their difficulties and lead happier lives, to fighting the stigma that people with mental illnesses face, and of course to hearing all the stories that patients have to tell me.
“Everyone’s life experience is so different, and it’s a privilege to hear about the events that have led a person to become who they are.”
- Twitter: @caffeinurse
Adult Branch – Louise Goodyear
“To say that I was excited to be lucky enough to represent student nurses is an understatement, and I think I’m still in shock. I’m nearly 38 years of age, married with three children - 15, 12 and my baby who’s 7. Coming in to nursing later in life, my journey has been a long one but I am now starting my second year at Wolverhampton University.
“Becoming a nurse has always been a dream of mine. As cheesy as it sounds, it makes my heart skip a beat when I talk about nursing. With all the negativity currently in the media, the nursing profession needs voices from compassionate and inspiring students, and I am hoping to use this role to be just that.
“I knew a long time ago that I wanted to train as a nurse; poor advice when leaving school led me down a different career path, and then after the birth of my children I knew I would have to wait until the time was right. This happened in my mid-thirties, when I embarked on an access course that gave me confidence in learning and put me at ease in a classroom environment. Without this, I would not have been equipped to start my nursing course. Adult nursing was my branch of choice as I enjoy the diversity: one minute you’ll be caring for an 18-year-old with a broken limb, and the next you could be assigned a 78-year-old with dementia.
“And the biggest lesson I’ve learnt from my course so far? The importance of having an open mind, compassion and determination to see you through.”
- Twitter: @loukgoody
Children’s branch – Rachael Starkey
“I’m Rachael, and I’m studying children’s nursing at Canterbury Christchurch University. My background is in social care – I spent nearly 15 years working with children and young adults in a variety of settings, finally taking the plunge last year to start my nursing degree.
“First year was exciting, surprising, tough and wonderful, and completely different to what I had expected! My past experience did not prepare me in the way I had hoped it would, and I have been surprised by many aspects of the course. But this hasn’t put me off and in fact has fascinated me far more than I expected.
“There was never any question for me as to which branch of nursing I would go into – children are amazing – their questions and their honesty will keep you on your toes, and I love being involved with the whole family. We get to change people’s lives, and going home from a shift on placement knowing that I’ve made a positive impact is what keeps me getting up the next morning.
“Quitting work (and a salary!) to study has not been without its challenges, but the joys of being a student nurse far outweigh them. The freedom to question everything, ask the “silly” questions, and spend time getting to know patients and their families, is priceless. I could not be more excited about the next two years, and look forward to hearing and learning from the SNT readers as we all make the journey together towards becoming qualified nurses.”
- Twitter: @nurserarstar
Learning Disabilities Branch - Claire Harries
“Hiya, my name is Claire and I am currently studying Learning Disability Nursing at the University of South Wales. We are a small class of 19 and I like to think that I am the witty one of the group! I am about to start my second year and looking forward to finding out what this will entail.
“Alongside studying, I work part-time supporting people with mental health problems and physical disabilities and have been employed in the care sector for 10 years. This has given me the opportunity to work with some fantastic people and organisations and what inspired me to pursue this area of nursing. I have always been passionate about providing the best care possible but a recent post managing a domiciliary care company gave me close involvement with people with learning disabilities and made me realise that a career in learning disability nursing is for me. I felt that my positive attitude and enthusiasm for advocating for those who are quite often the most vulnerable people in society makes me ideally suited to this type of nursing. I’m currently on placement with a community nursing team and have to cut this introduction short as my mentor has just handed me some work… time to put the kettle on!
“I love meeting new people and like to talk (a lot), so don’t be shy if you see me at a conference or event!”
- Twitter: @big8ch