There were three main reasons I choose the course and the University of Southampton. Not many places offer a PGDip and I felt that doing another undergraduate course would not take into consideration the skills I had already learnt from my psychology degree. Being able to complete the course in two years instead of three and get started in a job I knew I really wanted to do, was very appealing. I was also well aware of Southampton’s reputation for its high-quality nursing courses. In addition, as I am originally from Southampton, studying there meant I would be able to live at home and have support from friends and family.
I am now a Band 5 staff nurse on the intensive care unit and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). I came straight to Great Ormond Street from qualifying and joined its rotation programme, which meant I was able to experience six months on three separate wards before deciding which one to work on after I had completed the first 18 months.
I was very lucky to be allocated a well-rounded rotation that gave me a lot of experience in different areas. My first rotation was on a rheumatology and dermatology medical ward, my second rotation was on a urology and general surgery surgical ward and my final rotation was on intensive care, which is where I have stayed.
In intensive care I provide one-to-one care for acutely ill children (newborn to 21 years old) making sure they are safe and given the best care. I am my patients’ advocate for that shift and ensure I am happy with the care provided and keep parents and family up-to-date with the care plan.
Usually, these children are invasively or non-invasively ventilated. This means I am responsible for maintaining their airway – I constantly assess the patient watching for any signs of change or deterioration and react accordingly.
I administer their required medications, care for their nutritional needs, take and analyse blood results and care for their skin integrity and personal hygiene. I also update and discuss the plan of care with the nurse in charge and medical team.
I really enjoy implementing a plan of care or intervention and seeing a patient improve or feel more comfortable – it is always a great feeling when you know you have positively impacted a patient’s care and/or experience. I also really enjoy talking to and getting to know patients and their families.
My nursing training was a great experience – I was very fortunate to have a variety of placements that provided me with a breadth of experience and skills that I have taken with me and use in my nursing.Southampton always emphasised the importance of patient- and family-centred care and I believe I always put patients first on every shift.
I would definitely encourage students to do the PGDip. It is a very intense, and at times challenging, course as you are squeezing the work and placements of a three-year course into two, but it is very well organised with lots of support to help you through. It means you can get your dream job (for me anyway) a whole year sooner!
Studying at Southampton definitely lived up to its reputation – particularly with the structure of the course and lecturer knowledge, but also with opportunity’s for learning such as the SIM lab for practising being on the ward, and ward skills before starting placement.