Hi! My name is Megan, I am in my second year of the Children’s Nursing degree at the University of York. I am lucky enough to be able to say I love my course, the University itself, and living in York. Hopefully reading this blog will help you to think the same! Here are ten reasons why I love my degree…
1. Practice Placements. For many student nurses, placements can seem particularly daunting and stressful. The idea of working shifts with a multidisciplinary team which cares for people with a variety of needs can be a scary prospect, whether you have previous healthcare experience or not. Although initially, your legs may feel like jelly as you learn the ropes of an unfamiliar environment, it soon becomes one of the best parts of the course. Knowing your actions could make even a small difference to somebody’s life is a privilege all student nurses treasure. Many people also worry about travel and time, studying nursing is intense and time consuming, but completely manageable with good organisation, positivity and remembering to look after yourself as well.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it” – Lou Hotlz.
2. The City. Personally, I love York because it has the feel of a smaller, safe, friendly city, yet it bursts with all the events, opportunities and excitement of bigger cities. As a food lover, I’m kept thoroughly busy with hundreds of fabulous restaurants and bars, many independently run. Regular food festivals also take priority in my calendar! Beyond food, it is a beautiful place, with something for everyone: architecture, pubs, museums, galleries and nature galore.
3. The Department. The Department of Health Sciences includes all fields of nursing, midwifery and Postgraduate and Masters courses as well. Results from the Research Excellence framework (2014) identify it as a world-leading research organisation. Within the Department, the staff are highly knowledgeable, approachable and supportive. A personal supervisor maintains regular contact and seminars with you throughout the duration of the course, able to provide support or advice in any area you may need it.
4. The Assessments. Let’s be honest, no one looks forward to assessments, however the variety of ways you are assessed in nursing takes the pressure off! Being marked in practice, exams, essays, presentations and Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) in the Department’s Clinical Simulation Unit (CSU) provides everyone with an opportunity to excel! So, don’t panic if one of those isn’t your forte, the mixture of things you’re marked on can play to your strengths.
5. Life outside of nursing! A huge worry of many prospective nursing students, myself included, is getting the work-life balance. As I mentioned before, this is completely do-able with a bit of time management and organisation and is very important to keep yourself sane! Thankfully, there is a never ending list of things to get involved in, many of which are through the University of York Student’s Union (YUSU). There’s a huge variety of sports, societies, charity work, student leadership posts and events to get involved in. Being prepared to throw yourself out there could mean you end up with some amazing friends and experiences!
6. Personal Growth. I’ll keep this one short and sweet in an effort to avoid being too cheesy… Nursing provides the greatest opportunity to learn so much about others, as well as yourself. You will find strengths and confidence you never knew you had, a new understanding of empathy and compassion, and a true sense of pride in what you do and achieve.
7. The campus and students. Apart from being a beautiful campus with great facilities and accommodation, it’s also filled with great students. When I first visited I was really impressed by how happy the students appeared to be, studying at York, and how keen they were to get involved in showing it off. Student perspectives gave me a brilliant insight into life at York and I haven’t looked back since! I hope mine can give you the motivation which others gave me.
8. Friends. If the societies and opportunities I’ve mentioned haven’t given you enough excuse to make great friends, the nature of the course means you make friends for life in no time. In your first year, sharing university accommodation with other student nurses and midwives means you meet a variety of people all passionate about the same thing. Having people who understand exactly what the course entails is really valuable, you can learn with each other, celebrate together and be there for each other in a way no one else can. It also means that dinner conversation is never the same again!
9. Other opportunities. Studying nursing at York means you can experience a wide range of communities, practice settings and teams throughout North Yorkshire. On top of this, there is plenty of opportunity to develop your interests further: through practice spokes where you spend time with another area related to your placement, NurSoc, involvement with the Royal College of Nursing, being a course representative, getting a part time job in healthcare, attending conferences and programmes, guest speakers and workshops and many other programmes and opportunities that may come your way.
10. Student Support. The University of York is renowned for having good pastoral care and support for its students. University wide, this comes in many forms: help with mental health, well-being, accommodation, finance, bullying and many more. Within the department, you have your personal supervisor with you for the three years, a ‘link lecturer’ specific to each placement to support you in practice, nursing specific mental health, maths and literacy support as well as approachable staff and peers. The support network that is in place can help students in a variety of ways, and provides reassurance that help is available for an often challenging course, academically and emotionally.