A mature student's experience

We know that being a mature student can bring some worries that are perhaps less common in students that come straight from school or college at 18. Our mature students also have a valuable wealth of experience to bring to their professional training. So we caught up with Khalila, a mature student who joined our Adult Nursing programme, to find out how she's been finding her course so far.

Student nurses practise their skills

"As a mature student being out of academic studies for some time, I was extremely concerned about being just a number in a class room. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to BCU students while I worked as a healthcare assistant at City Hospital, Birmingham. Through them I learned how supportive the faculty and lecturers were throughout their studies. I was informed about the extra support systems available and I was able to see how confident the students were while they were on placement. I was prepared to travel anywhere to begin my Nursing degree but after going to open days at other universities, I was sure that BCU was the university for me.

"From a very young age I was told that I would make a wonderful nurse; I always ran for the first aid kit if anyone needed it! I knew that I was never meant for a 9-5 Monday to Friday office job. I have never had the tolerance for staying still for long periods. When I worked as a healthcare assistant at the King Edwards Memorial Hospital in Bermuda, the nurses were always pushing me to go for my nursing degree as I was always interested in learning about what they were doing and pushing myself to do any training available to me.

"I have never felt as though I could not ask for help or support in my personal or academic life while on this course. Our group of January 2017 starters has felt like a little family or community. We support each other in class and out of class on platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook and that has helped to ease stress and anxiety because you realise that we are all going through it.

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"At the moment, I’m enjoying the ‘Best Evidence Based Practice’ module on my course. Nursing is a practical skill but knowing the theory behind what and why we are doing something has truly been my favourite part of this course. When I go out onto placement I understand why a patient who was doing OK a few hours ago has suddenly crashed. Not only that, I am able to assess a patient and see that they are about to take a turn for the worst and can get the doctors in to review them and hopefully reverse what is going wrong before it escalates. So ‘Best Evidence Based Practice’ allows me to be a better nurse, caring for my patients safely and effectively.

Student nurses practise their skills

"We have two placements every year of the course. These placements have been essential in bringing together all aspects of the lectures that have been taught. It helps to bring the theory to life, allowing you to actually be in the role, while having someone guide you and watch over you. You see in practice what being a nurse entails and learn from the experiences of other nurses and what works for them, helping you to build up a routine of your own. It also helps you to realise the importance of your role and the physical demand it can have on you, allowing you to find coping mechanisms to fully enjoy your role as a nurse when you qualify.

"The staff at BCU go over and above for the students. Lecturers put on extra tutorial sessions, some have even arranged student-led tutorial sessions as they know that students can sometimes feel too nervous to ask questions to the lecturer themselves. The Moodle sites provided by the different lecturers are adapted to cater to the different learning styles of the students, there are YouTube videos and research articles along with access to online resources. Some lecturers have come up with innovative ways to enhance our learning though a project called ‘Know Your Organs Day’ where students can come and see real porcine organs (which are closest to human organs), feel them and ask questions about them. The supporting staff offer lots of support as well. The librarians hold regular classes to help students with researching and referencing techniques. There is also a Professional Development Department that can assist with study skills, maths tutorials etc.

"The best advice I can give to future students on the Adult Nursing course is to believe in yourself. Time and time again I hear other students saying I didn’t think I could do that and I know of some who were too afraid to try. If you believe in yourself and your capabilities that is half the battle. You will push yourself to do amazing things and people will support you to do them. Placement is about building confidence and gleaning from the experience of others, but it is also about you taking what you have learned and putting it into practice, so do not be afraid to challenge something if you know it to be wrong. As an adult learner it’s so important for you to find out what works best for you for revision skills and if you struggle in any areas ask for support as there is so much support available."

Student nurses practises taking pulse

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