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Published: 13 November 2013

My Surrey experience – Jessica Collins, Child Nursing

Jessica Collins, a third year Child Nursing student, reveals why she chose to come to Surrey and is passionate about training to become a nurse.

Jessica Collins is in her final year of our three-year BSc Child Nursing programme.

Why did you choose to come to Surrey to study Child Nursing?

I have previously completed a degree in psychology and worked as a Health Care Support worker at Richard House Children’s Hospice in London.  I wished to progress in my career and qualify as a nurse.

Surrey had an excellent reputation for nursing, high standing in the league tables and had a high graduate employment rate.  There appeared to be fantastic tutor and University support, and there were good opportunities for a variety of placements. 

What’s the most challenging thing about the course?

The course is challenging in every way; academically, emotionally, physically and personally.  Experiencing frequent change of placement and meeting new people have been some of the biggest challenges, but this has become easier as my confidence has grown.

What are the University facilities like?

The library is a fantastic facility which also offers support services, such as workshops.  The School of Health Sciences has a modern simulation suite enabling skill practice in a supportive setting.

What support do you receive from tutors?

One of the reasons I chose the University of Surrey was for the support offered, and it has exceeded my expectations.  Tutors have supported us all personally as well as academically, and this is truly an asset to the course. 

Have you been on placement? If so, where did you go?

I have experienced a wide range of placements allowing for insights into a range of paediatric healthcare settings, for example health visiting, school nursing, special care baby unit, palliative care, child mental health services, community nursing, A&E, as well as on the hospital ward. 

What was the best thing about going on placement?

Every placement provided new challenges and different ways of working.  I enjoyed developing my clinical skills, communicating with patients and looking after children in a range of healthcare settings.

I particularly enjoyed learning how to use play to help make the hospital environment more manageable for children.  I found myself growing in confidence which I have found personally rewarding. 

What aspects of the programme have you enjoyed the most and why?

I have enjoyed learning in our small child branch class where we have supported one another as a group.  The simulation suite has been particularly useful in practicing skills.   Applying these skills in placement and reflecting on my progression through the years is hugely rewarding.

Do you know what you want to do when you graduate?

I hope to work on a children’s hospital ward when I graduate before specialising.

Do you have any tips/advice for people who are considering studying Child Nursing at Surrey?

I would recommend gaining some healthcare experience before committing to nursing. The course is demanding, so it needs to feel right for you.  Seek learning opportunities and take advantage of being a student, as this is a unique time. 

I am a mature student and I thought I must be mad for going back to study! However, I met many others who were also in the same position on the course.  Nursing attracts people from all walks of life, and I personally found my previous experience was of benefit.

How have you changed since you started your course?

I believe I have developed in confidence and self-belief which has been extremely rewarding.  My academic work has greatly improved, and I have even had my work published in a nursing journal. 

Do you have any other comments about life as a Surrey student?

The University’s Surrey Sports Park is fantastic, and I regularly enjoy many activities such as Zumba, rock climbing and swimming.   

Learn more about our School of Health Sciences.

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