What’s it Really Like Being a Student Nurse? A glimpse into an average week:

Hello! My name is Megan, I am a Child Nursing Student at the University of York. I never thought I could enjoy my degree as much as I do, it has exceeded every expectation I had as a prospective student. However, nursing is a degree completely different to all others. I am hoping this glimpse into my week gives you the insight and inspiration that I found helpful when making my application.

Monday and Tuesday

The start of this week is going to be an exciting one! Earlier this year, I successfully applied to a Council of Deans Health ‘Student Leadership Programme’ which the University had informed us about. I am really looking forward to the introductory event in Reading which involves guest speakers, group activities and a three-course dinner! The programme is for four months, including mentorship and training for leadership skills within healthcare. It’s great to be part of the wider community of nursing and healthcare. I would highly recommend finding something beyond university to get your teeth into! That’s one of the best things about nursing, there are so many opportunities and a huge diversity of things to get involved in.

Wednesday

Happy Hump day! Or, for me, a catch-up day. A private study day, time to prepare for my assessed presentation tomorrow. Wednesday will be spent rehearsing my script with my housemates and trying to calm my nerves. Assessments are never an enjoyable prospect, but I am looking forward to being one step closer to a relaxing Easter holiday! This has certainly been an intense and challenging term. But great friends, organisation and a bit of TLC have got me through it. Nursing can challenge you in many different ways, but it is not something to be put off by. The pride and sense of achievement of doing something you love that helps others hugely outweighs the difficult days.

Thursday

Assessment day. This is number three of four assessments this term. This one consisting of a poster presentation to my peers. Thankfully, the audience only includes two examiners and half of my Co-operative Learning Group (CLG). This is a group of 20-ish students from your cohort, studying all fields of nursing, with whom you share a supervisor and modules with throughout the three years of the degree. Your CLG becomes your friends, therapists and study buddies, and are an invaluable part of the degree.

Friday

On Friday, I will be getting up at 5am to travel to Scarborough Hospital to do a 13-hour shift on the children’s ward as part of my practice placement. This is something which a lot of prospective students, myself included, find daunting. However, once in practice, being part of a team whose goal is to support and improve the health and lives of others quickly becomes the most rewarding and enjoyable part of the degree. The early mornings, travel and tiredness are 100% worth it. I keep my car at uni which makes getting to placement simple. Travelling to placements can be worrying, but there is plenty of support from the university and your peers. Even though the drive to Scarborough is a long one, I find it helpful to think about my day and reflect on what’s happened. (If I’m not giving another student a lift and belting out golden-oldies down the A64…)

Saturday

Will begin with a well-deserved lie in! My day will be a mixture of rest, yoga, practising for my practical exam next Thursday and catching up with friends. This usually involves some of the many restaurants and bars within the beautiful city. In what often becomes a hectic timetable, keeping a good work-life balance is essential to keeping calm and motivated. It is also completely achievable with a bit of planning!

Sunday

My Sunday will be spent back on placement in Scarborough. It’s hard to describe a normal day of placement, as no two are the same and you never know what is going to happen next! However, some things take place every day: being assigned patients – to share with your mentor or look after independently – medication rounds, ward rounds with the doctors, doing admissions, removing cannulas, taking observations, reassuring children and parents and helping with whatever situation may arise. I have thoroughly enjoyed my placement experiences, knowing that your actions, however small, can make a huge difference to someone’s day is such a privilege! I love looking at the cards and drawings children have made for me, as well as an origami swan from a teenager I helped to look after. They are such lovely reminders of why I love nursing.

Returning home from my shift, I will be having an early night and getting ready for the week ahead!

I hope this snapshot of my upcoming week provides you with a helpful insight to a student nurse’s life! Hopefully, this will also soon be your average week, and like me, you will be thoroughly enjoying it.