When you start university there is one question you can guarantee you’ll be asked: “name, cohort and branch?”
Those small pieces of demographical information tell you who you may be spending the next three years training with. So, my name is Natasha and I’m going into my fourth year at Nottingham University – oh and I’m adult branch.
As you progress in your training and become more comfortable in your cohort people will often ask “so why (insert chosen branch) nursing?”. When I applied to university I found it extremely difficult to decide which branch to choose – I was always interested in adult and mental health nursing. In the end I decided on adult nursing.
One of the main reasons I chose to study adult nursing was simply because I’m very interested in physical health and my strengths in academia have always been within human biology. I also feel that caring for adults has so many different dimensions. You have an individual who potentially has been very independent for a long time in their life and when they are ill there is a very intense sense of vulnerability. Being privy to that and having the ability to support someone through it is a complete privilege and part of the reason I chose adult nursing.
Tips for new students!
My top 5 how to survive university tips:
- Make friends with people on different courses – sometimes nursing can be overwhelming and you need a break from it. But also make sure you have a support network of nursing students who are friends, they understand the hard days better than anyone.
- Stock up on cold remedies before Freshers’ week – freshers’ flu will get most people.
- Join a society or club – it’s an easy way to make friends with lots of different people and it will be a welcome break when your course/placement gets a bit stressful.
- Get your time management skills right – but don’t worry too much. Your first year is all about adjusting to everything.
- Make the most of freshers’ week and enjoy the first few months. Don’t worry about all the different people you meet. Your real friends will become apparent.
And, the all important top 5 placement tips:
- Reflect, reflect and reflect some more. You will experience a lot of different things you on your first placement. Reflection is a great way of capturing that, meaning you can look back and see how much you’ve learnt.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions and question what you see. You’re there to learn after all.
- Arrange insight visits – they are a fantastic way to experience things you might not deal with on your placement.
- Eat well. Breaks are often taken as and when there is free time so it’s important that you eat properly.
- And finally, remember that as a student you are supernumerary. Use this to your advantage – if there is something happening on placement that you want to see just ask.
Good luck to all the new starters and the returners!
Natasha McVey is in her fourth year studying Adult nursing at Nottingham University