I enjoyed most of my placements, in particular the elective experience - in both my interviews for staff nurse posts the interviewers have asked about this when flicking through my portfolio. Our biological sciences module in first year with Martin was great, I still refer back to that work at times, as I do with the work from the Critical Care module"
What are your career experiences since graduating from the University of Birmingham?
I qualified from the University of Birmingham in September 2008. In my first year as a staff nurse I completed a rotation within Heart of England NHS Trust, in the surgical directorate. The rotation was great, I was well supported and had great opportunities. I experienced working in different teams and nursed a wide variety of patients, whilst getting to grips with basic nursing care as well as building up a good repertoire of skills. I then moved to a medical ward at University Hospital Aintree, Merseyside. Not long after I joined the team there, Aintree Chest Unit expanded and opened an eight bedded Ventilation Centre. I have worked on the Ventilation Inpatient Centre (VIC) since it opened in January 2010, and love it! We get acutely ill patients in type 2 respiratory failure, set up patients on long term NIV, and have four 'weaning beds' for patients transferred from ITU settings, struggling to be weaned from there IPPV. In order to learn a bit more, I organised an internal rotation to our ITU, and am currently working there for three months, whilst one of their staff nurses has come onto the VIC to learn more about NIV/weaning. I have applied for a Masters in Respiratory Medicine, and hope to start that in May 2011. I aim to be a band 6 by this time next year.
I never thought during my degree I would be applying for a masters! The Critical Care module ran by Amelia Williamson Swift was great and definitely initiated my motivation to get a good basis of knowledge and skills before applying for a HDU/ITU based job. I really enjoyed being a student, and generally had really good experiences on placement, so started to work with a really positive attitude towards my career. At the time, I didnt really understand why we did so much Professional Development work, but I have used lots of the work we did since, and appreciate why it was so important.
What was the best thing about your time as a student here?
I loved the social life, my cohort was brilliant and we got along well. I enjoyed most of my placements, in particular the elective experience - in both my interviews for staff nurse posts the interviewers have asked about this when flicking through my portfolio. Our biological sciences module in first year with Martin was great, I still refer back to that work at times, as I do with the work from the Critical Care module.
In what way did living and studying in Birmingham live up to your expectations?
I wasn't sure what to expect when starting University, I was 18 and just moving away from home. But I cant say enough how much I loved it!!
What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?
I would tell students on the degree programme to start their portfolio early. Do a reflection for each placement, many of my colleagues now (most of whom trained at Edge Hill University) had to hand in their portfolio each term, and I think that's a brilliant idea. Also make lists or a journal of the types of patients you care for and skills/study days and any experiences (good or bad), basically they need to be able to show what they have done that makes them stand out from other students. But mostly to enjoy it! Time flies and they will be qualified before they know it!