So far, I’ve talked about an average day as a nursing student and let you in on what to look out for when applying to University. Today, I bring you: ‘What to look forward to’ as an undergraduate studying nursing at the University of York.
Working on placement
During your journey as a student nurse, the University will allocate you to various clinical settings. This is a big bonus that comes with Nursing being a professional degree. Not many students can boast having so much knowledge and experience about their future job as a newly qualified individual. There’s always something to learn from every placement, from caring for patients living with certain conditions, to preventing hospital admissions. So, look forward to qualifying with a degree rich in career-specific experiences! I can still remember patient encounters I had in my first year of studying nursing. You’d be surprised at just how many stick with you! You really do get out of placement what you put into it, so be ready to become more accustomed to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
Studying nursing during lockdown
As you know, life in lockdown has its challenges, not to mention life as a student in lockdown. Personally, I’ve found that, at times, there’s too much negativity; the anxieties and unknowns of everyday life can feel heavy. Having blocks of placement has surprisingly really helped with this. I know what you’re probably thinking: what is so helpful about long days caring for the sick? I can honestly say that having something (anything), that forces me to leave the house and interact with others has been so good for me. A few of my friends have told me how COVID life feels so mundane, how all the days seem to roll into one. Well, when you’re a student nurse, I guarantee that dull, lifeless feeling becomes foreign to you. I have never appreciated placement as much as I do now. Especially during those good days where you get a glimpse of how you have positively impacted or improved someone’s life. Even if it was just in one small moment, it is quite a blessing!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows at placement either, for obvious reasons. However, going into placement creates a greater sense of responsibility and adds so much structure to my routine. Somehow, as you see yourself learning more, and as your academic and clinical horizons broaden, your otherwise dull weeks gain more meaning and purpose. Studying nursing is very rewarding, and it gives you a great sense of achievement too. Furthermore, doing my placement shifts remind me to see things in a more positive light, something we can all practice, especially during these uncertain times.
Friends for life
I have rambled on a lot about placement, that’s because placement has been a big part of my life recently! Naturally, I have a lot to say about it. But, rest assured, there is still so much more to your university experience than the placements. For instance, there is the prospect of forming life-long friendships. Even though I am starting to shun the ‘your years in university are the best years of your life’ trope, because of the pressure and avoidable disappointment it can create, I can say that the people I have been fortunate to meet have massively improved my university experience. There is nothing better than going along to a Vintage Kilo sale with your friends, or buying from small businesses online. You could even just stay in, order food and maybe pick up a few snacks from the Halifax Nisa to binge on whilst watching movies with your favourite people in JJ’s (Halifax’s common room). This was my go-to form of entertainment even before the pandemic!
The social life
If nightlife is your thing, I’ve been told that York has quite a few decent bars and clubs to guarantee a fun night out. If none of ours are to your taste, many students, especially my fellow POC, love to go to clubs in Leeds every now and then. It’s only a short train journey away. I would say that, once things resume some form of normality, your social life won’t suffer during your time here. On that note, I have loved seeing how the societies have adapted to the lockdown restrictions. For example, recently, I have heard that the British Asian Society (BAS), have done a virtual ‘speed-dating’ event over zoom. This was on a friendship basis, but it encouraged old and new members alike to meet up and get to know each other- my friends loved it! At least there are still ways for you to meet new people you share a common interest with.
There are also opportunities to meet people during your seminar sessions. Strangely, I have gotten to know the people in my seminar more over zoom. This has been a great form of support because we have bonded over our shared struggles. If you’re lucky enough to see students at your placement, I recommend getting to know them and helping each other out. We are all in the same boat, we are all just trying to make the best of a bizarre situation! I have also found that the Health Sciences department are great at seeking and responding to our feedback. We are really lucky in that respect. We regularly get short surveys to ask our opinion on the content and if there are any improvements we can suggest. The zoom seminars are also a suitable environment to ask questions and make suggestions which the staff actually take forward.
So, for all my future nursing students, despite all the restrictions and challenges that COVID brings, here at the Uni of York, you’ll still be part of a supportive community. There are opportunities to make new friends, discover and explore new interests, and develop your knowledge and skills whilst creating memorable experiences!