Graduate profile
Tia Dolphin, BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies (Registered Nurse Children's Nursing)

Tia Dolphin

"I’m now a Paediatric Staff Nurse at my local NHS trust and I love my job! Every day is different – you never know what to expect – and I’m always learning to tackle new challenges."

Why I chose Surrey

I was inspired to become a nurse after being a hospital patient when I was younger. I saw the amazing work children’s nurses did and the difference they made to young people’s lives, including my own. I also saw the gaps in the system and I wanted to do something to help fix these.

I found out about Surrey through my college and I signed up to a summer school, to see what they had to offer. I got to take part in taster sessions for health sciences course, like nursing and paramedic science, and stay in university accommodation for four days. I met some lovely staff, saw the beautiful campus and found out about the student support available. I knew straight away it was where I belonged – it was the perfect university for me!

After that, I was set on Surrey. I didn’t apply anywhere else.

My course

My favourite thing about the course had to be the practical and theory elements. The hands-on learning at the University, combined with going out on placement, meant I could practice my skills on real-life patients.

The teaching staff were amazing. There’s no other way to put it! They were knowledgeable and supportive, always taking the time to listen to my academic queries. They also took an interest in my personal life, giving me advice to help support my studies. If they couldn’t help me directly, they’d point me in the direction of somebody else who could.

The facilities in the Kate Granger Building were incredible, especially the Clinical Simulation Centre, which was modern and realistic, providing a safe environment to learn and develop in. There were lots of quiet places to study in, a café and atrium to meet friends and stop for lunch, and a host of technical seminar rooms.

My clinical placements

I completed my clinical placements with the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust. Here, I worked in all the paediatric departments at East Surrey Hospital, including accident and emergency, the child assessment unit and the inpatient’s ward. I also worked in the community within the surrounding area, visiting people in their homes and schools. In addition, I secured a placement at Great Ormond Street Hospital (London), Queen Victoria Hospital (Sussex) and Frimley Park Hospital (Surrey).

Throughout my placements, I got to carry out assessments on patients, admit them and triage their care. I drew up and administered medications, provided treatment and so much more. The tasks I carried out varied as I progressed through the course and developed more skills.

There were so many highlights during my time on placement, including supporting mental health patients transition back into their communities, and helping newly diagnosed diabetics come to terms with their condition, empowering them to take on their own care. Every day I make an impact on someone’s life.

My life at Surrey

One of my favourite things about Surrey was the campus. It had such a lovely feel about it, especially the lake, where I spent a lot of my free time chilling with friends. Living on campus was super convenient, especially being so close to the train station and London. Living with 20 people was a bit daunting, but I made some great friends and it was the perfect start to my university experience.

I also enjoyed the amazing events the Students’ Union held, as well as nights out in Rubix, the on-campus nightclub – there was always such a great vibe.

My career and development

I learnt so much about myself during my time at Surrey, including how to live independently. Most importantly, my course made me aware of what’s going on in the world and how vital it is to look out for each other.

I’m now a Paediatric Staff Nurse at my local NHS trust and I love my job! Every day is different – you never know what to expect – and I’m always learning to tackle new challenges. My highlight so far has been becoming a practice supervisor and mentoring new nursing students, helping them grow and develop on their nursing journeys.

My advice

Do it! It’s challenging but it’s so worth it. I’m so glad I chose this profession! Be brave and don’t let anything get in your way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always be eager to learn.