"I’m a Band 5 Staff Nurse, working on an acute cardiac unit. I love working with the patients and I’m always learning something new."
Why I chose Surrey
I’ve always loved caring for people and worked in a care home from the age of 16. I didn’t think I had the proper qualifications to become a nurse so dismissed it early on. It wasn’t until a colleague told me that this was a possibility that I started to reconsider it as a career. Helping others has always been a calling for me, and nursing was a way to do something more and be part of something bigger.
When I was looking for universities, I attended a Surrey open day and fell in love. It just felt right, there’s no other way to explain it. Everyone was welcoming, friendly and supportive, and I knew it was the right place for me. When I applied, I attended an interview and really enjoyed the process. Third-year students took time to answer my questions and helped me feel at ease (the sandwiches also helped!), which was very different to other university application processes.
One of the best things about my adult nursing course was the support on offer. The teaching staff were very knowledgeable and happy to help. They always made the effort to provide one-to-one support and there was always an opportunity to see my personal tutor. They really understood what it was like to be a student and helped me to develop my confidence.
Being at Surrey was like being part of a big family, made up of nurses, midwives and paramedics. I made some close friends on the course and couldn’t have done it without them!
I liked that I didn’t go into practice straight away and got the time to read up on theory and develop my clinical skills in the Clinical Simulation Suite. The facilities overall were great, with good online resources.
"During my placements, I got to help provide the best care to my patients and communicate effectively. This included serving food, changing dressings, assisting patients with washing and dressing, working on admissions and discharges, and writing handovers."
My clinical placements
For my clinical placements, I was based at St Richards Hospital in Chichester, within the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. I was very lucky to get a variety of placements on the acute cardiac ward, in the intensive care unit, with the dementia team and out in the wider community.
During my placements, I got to help provide the best care to my patients and communicate effectively. This included serving food, changing dressings, assisting patients with washing and dressing, working on admissions and discharges, and writing handovers. Most importantly, I got to listen to patients and be a compassionate ear to them and their relatives.
There’s always a situation that will stay with you from your placement experience. For me, this was a patient I was treating during the Covid-19 pandemic. They were incredibly emotional and didn’t want to leave the ward. I listened, reassured and comforted them. After they’d spoken to me and others, they said they felt much better and had been holding in their emotions for a long time. They apologised profusely, and I explained that it wasn’t a sign of weakness to cry. Seeing how grateful they were to have somebody to talk to them really struck a chord with me. I realised then how much of a difference you can really make just by listening.
My career and development
Completing placements helped me develop my confidence. I was exposed to new environments and had to meet new people, which naturally developed me as a person and gave me faith in my abilities. Working during the Covid-19 pandemic alongside other students, also helped me to build my resilience.
I’m now a Band 5 Staff Nurse, working on an acute cardiac unit. I love working with the patients and I’m always learning something new. My colleagues are extremely supportive, and I know they’re ready to lend me a helping hand, as no two days are the same.
Never be afraid to ask for help. It may be a tough journey but you’re not alone. Speak to your coursemates, personal tutor, friends and family – they can give you so much support.
Most importantly, have confidence in yourself. You can do this!