Graduate profile

Charlotte Walder

"I'm a newly qualified nurse working full-time at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where I care for a broad range of surgical, medical, oncology and palliative patients."

Graduation year
2016
Study abroad location
Stavanger, Norway

Studying abroad

I decided to study abroad for part of my adult nursing course, to experience and learn about nursing in a healthcare system alternate to that of the UK. I went to Stavanger, Norway, working as a student nurse on a ward caring for patients requiring treatment and care related to drug and alcohol misuse. I was occupied simultaneously completing four assignments during the first four weeks, but once they were submitted, I spent any remaining days off from shift hiking in Norway.

Stavanger Hospital provided a very effective learning environment for students, which I believe greatly enhanced my training. I learnt about the Norwegian healthcare system and their culture. I benefited from caring for a specific patient group and gained some in-depth knowledge there. I even started to learn a little Norwegian!

I found that using an Airbnb for the duration worked perfectly for me and the host I booked with was very pleasant and helpful. It cost around £15 a day for what was very comfortable lodging in central Norway and walking distance from the Hospital. Making a private booking this way, meant I had guaranteed peace and quiet to complete assignments and rest between shifts.

I made friends who I remain in contact with now. Last year, my host and his partner visited me in London. This summer, I'm meeting Norwegian colleagues to complete the Trolltunga hike I failed to squeeze in during my time abroad. I'd definitely recommend studying abroad!

"I went to Stavanger, Norway, working as a student nurse on a ward caring for patients requiring treatment and care related to drug and alcohol misuse."

My career and development

I'm a newly qualified nurse working full-time at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where I care for a broad range of surgical, medical, oncology and palliative patients. The ward is under-resourced and the shifts are always exhausting, but the nature of nursing thankfully means that I always take some good thoughts away at the end of the shift or find it rewarding in some way. I find that poorly patients are often inspiring or show incredible spirit in the face of adversity. It's true that no two days are the same.

On my days away from the Hospital, I work as an RAMC Defence Medic in the Army Reserves, usually two to fours days per week and sometimes for a fortnight at a time, in varying UK and overseas locations.

My advice

Shadow as many people as you can! I completed additional shadowing, outside of my mandatory hours or portfolio requirements, to further my knowledge of areas I was particularly interested in, like drug and alcohol liaison, paediatrics and learning disabilities. I generally found that when I asked to shadow a healthcare professional, they were usually happy to help if they could. Sometimes the only time they had available was for a discussion but even that was still valuable.

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