I’ve written before that nursing is a full-time course with long hours and 45 weeks of the year, so let’s talk about balance. I think now I’m half way through my second year, I’ve almost nailed it!
University life is about more than learning and academia. It’s about friendship, growth and drinking (just kidding, sort of, but be careful and safe).
By the time you qualify, you’ll have completed 2,407.5 hours of practice in hospitals, communities and third-sector organisations. It sounds like a lot, but you’ll have three years to achieve it. For most nurses, you’ll have two placements each year (three in your third year) which will give you a wide range of experiences. Currently we can also ‘spoke’, which is where we visit other teams relevant to the area of practice for a few hours or days.
In your first year as a nursing student you could be placed in any setting (adult, child, learning disability or mental health), again expanding your knowledge of healthcare beyond the field you’ve chosen. You’ll always have a little time at university too, usually one day while on placement. This is really helpful as you constantly keep up your academic knowledge (and you get to see your friends). As a Learning Disability nurse I stay with the same team for my final two years to promote consistence with my client group, but I can still ‘spoke’ to other relevant teams.
When you’re not on placement you’ll be studying theory a few days a week, with coursework and exams to focus on. You will honestly never be bored doing a nursing degree! In second and third year you’ll be working in your cohort all year round, and do your field specific modules too.
Now, for life! York has loads of sports facilities, teams, societies, and events to participate in. I really would advise you take a look at the University of York Student Union (YUSU). From fundraising to support, it’s your one-stop-shop.
For me, it was rugby. That’s what I wanted to do at university. I did a ‘give-it-a-go’ day and fell in love. Unfortunately, I don’t always have time to go to training, especially in my second year. However, when I could, being able to go and spend time with a team of fantastic girls has been such a gift. It also gave me the experience and confidence to play with a non-university team when it suited my hours better. The University of York gave me two amazing sets of rugby friends, fitness days and stress relief in one go, giving me a much better student nurse/life balance.
If you think rugby isn’t for you (it could be though: there is a place for everyone!), then societies are also worth having a look at! NurSoc is a society for nurses, run by nurses, giving you a chance to have a say about relevant issues and develop your CV in a fun way.
I’m going to stop rambling now, but look for whatever interests you and York will probably have it – and if it doesn’t then just make your own society! Looking at you, Irish Dancing <3
It may take a while to figure out the work life balance during your nursing degree, but the amazing support and facilities at York can make it happen.