Produced by Guest blogger
Hello, my name is Sian and I am a BSc (Hons) Children’s and Young People’s Nursing (CYP) student. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a children’s nurse, after originally having a place at another university at the age of 18 my circumstances changed, which meant I could no longer keep my place, so I took on a job in a preschool instead and loved every moment for the eight years that I was there.
Four years into being a preschool assistant, I thought about my life again and how much I still wanted to be a CYP nurse. This made me decide to get a job at the hospital where I became a radiology assistant. I know I know, it has nothing to do with children, but I thought the hospital experience would get me a little closer to my dream career. At this point I had two children and was getting married to my partner, and I kept wondering what I could do to get onto a CYP nursing course at university because I needed some evidence of recent study and some more UCAS tariff points. I continued with being a radiology assistant for four years with the preschool as a second job. It was then that I was told about an access course at the local college which would take one year to complete and would help me get those precious points to apply for university again. I decided once and for all I was going to go all in, return to education to get where I wanted.
Once enrolled and studying on my access course, I attended some open days. The Bournemouth University Open Day was a brilliant experience. I met some amazing year 3 students who showed us everywhere we needed to see, answering all my questions as we went around. It was such a relaxed environment. I applied to two universities and it didn’t take long before I was offered interviews at both. The first interview at another university immediately made me feel uncomfortable, having to participate in a Maths and English exam. The whole time I was there I just felt it was too academic based, there weren’t any questions about why I wanted to be a nurse or anything personal, it was all about how well I performed.
On the other hand, at Bournemouth University everything was so much more relaxed with refreshments, information leaflets, tours and people to talk to, there was no sitting at desks and feeling awkward. We sat in a sort of circle where we could just talk with everyone who was waiting. When called in for the interview there was a panel of friendly faces and the questions were based more on me as a person, why I wanted to become a nurse, what I would bring to the job, how well I would work in a team and so on, it all just felt more appropriate to a nursing student role.
When I got that email to say I had been accepted at Bournemouth University I knew all my efforts had paid off. I accepted and started to receive fresher’s week information and all the details I needed for my first day, it started feeling real! It was the best day ever (apart from having my children and getting married obviously)!
Being a student
Let’s talk about BU, the course and how its changed my life. The first few weeks were all about getting to know each other and this helped me make friends for life, having such a small class. It was easy to get to know everyone moving seats each lecture and talking with each person. We spend lots of time together as a group and this is greatly encouraged by our Academic adviser, in fact she actually helped us organise a Christmas party in our first year. I will talk more about friends and the things we get up to later.
The freshers fair was the most amazing experience. It was buzzing and at first, I felt a bit embarrassed and odd being a mature student at the age of 28 wondering around, but I took my children and even found out that BU has a mature student group. This group ran a day of activities for the children to enjoy at the fresher’s fair, I was so glad I took my children, they even helped get me more freebies (see the picture), the day was filled with freebies of food, drink, clothing, bags and lots of pens, the children watched a magic show, danced, did crafts and had free sweets and refreshments. The mature student group also organises day trips for families and many other activities. The whole freshers fair was huge, it was a fantastic experience and very well organised.
Back to the course and the experience it brings, CYP nursing is 50% practical and 50% theory, although you do feel like you are out gaining experience more than you are in university. I am not going to lie it is not an easy degree and a lot of people think that nursing is an easy way to graduate, it really isn’t, you do have to work hard for it, but the support that you get is amazing, from the staff, especially your academic adviser, the university, the librarians and of course your peers and then mentors from placement. I have really enjoyed my first year and there really is a great sense of achievement at BU, plus a fantastic purple army of student reps to give everyone a hand and listen to the student’s voice.
I am so thankful that I was chosen to study at BU, the area it’s in really helps too. When you have a long day of lectures and you have a break it’s great to get out onto the seafront for some of that fresh air and beautiful views, which are within a 10-minute walk especially in the summer or on those crisp winter days. However, I couldn’t have taken this leap without the support of my family, especially my husband and parents, and my friends new and old, they pushed and encouraged me to follow my dream and continue to support me through the ups and the downs, and for that I thank them.
So, if I can do this course with two kids, a puppy and a husband in tow then anyone can do this course with the right determination and mind set. I highly recommend it! So go on, take that chance and get your application in and maybe one day you will be having cheese parties, Christmas parties, expanding your knowledge, developing your communication skills and having fun with your new best friends for life as well as following that dream of becoming a children’s nurse.
Sian, CYP nursing student
Find out more
Find out more about BU’s Children’s and Young People’s Nursing degree