Sannah Ishtiaq, BNurs 2016 | NQ Nurse

sannah-isntiaq-450x450Sannah graduated in 2016 and began working as a newly qualified nurse in September 2016. 

What is your current role and what does it involve?

My current role as newly qualified staff nurse involves a year-long preceptorship programme developed to allow NQ nurses to adapt to our new role. I am currently working on an adolescent ward in a district general hospital.

What do you love the most about your job and what is the biggest challenge?

I love everything about my job. No two days are the same. Working on a general ward means that we can get different patients with different diagnosis – ranging from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) to trauma patients. The age range of the patients I care for means that I can easily relate to these patients. You can converse with them and use humour to develop a therapeutic relationship. I’d say the biggest challenge at the moment would be some of the harrowing experiences that some of our CAMHS patients present with. We have a high percentage of CAMHS patients on our ward and we are one of the only children’s wards to use MAPA (Management of Actual or Potential Agression) within our roles. Because of this, some of our clientele are deemed as high risk to both themselves and others which itself presents a challenge.

How did your degree help prepare you for your career? 

I had a 7 week CAMHS placement which gave me the exposure and relevant insight into CAMHS. This experience, in my opinion, has enabled me to become well-equipped to care for these patients. All the placements I had were extremely valuable and the skills I had learnt on these placements I still continue to develop and use during my job. The theoretical knowledge I gained from the course has facilitated me to understand the different conditions and diagnosis that young people present with. I feel that the degree programme is well-organised and comprises relevant material to help us in our careers.

What attracted you to studying at Birmingham?

I attended two outreach summer-school residential programmes at UoB, in year 10 and year 12 respectively which allowed me to appreciate the value of a research intensive and highly reputable university. Both of  these programmes gave me the motivation and encouragement to study at Birmingham and it gave me a goal to strive for. Birmingham also ranked highly in the league tables and Open Days confirmed that Birmingham was the ideal place for me. Birmingham felt like home and I am so glad that I chose to study here.

How would you sum up your time in Birmingham in three words?

Life-changing, inspiring, unforgettable.

What inspired you most during your time at Birmingham?

Every single lecturer was inspiring, knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The relationship between my peers in the Child branch of nursing was incredible and this relationship extended to our child-lecturers whom were amazing. I was also a student ambassador at the University which meant in my free time I was assisting with school visits, working at Open Days and interacting with perspective students, giving tours to visitors and working on the Year 12 Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP) over the summer of my first and second years of my degree. I myself was a student on AEP and so being an ambassador myself was extremely humbling. During the week-long AEP programme, I had mentees who were all aiming to study nursing and it was my responsibility to mentor these students and assist them with their university applications for the next 6 months. Being an ambassador and meeting like-minded ambassador friends from other courses is definitely one of my highlights of University! Additionally, I was involved with the Pakistani cultural society and was on the committee of the society. This allowed me to interact with other students from the same cultural and ethnic background as myself and I was involved with planning the annual charity gala that is held by the Pakistani society which proved to be a very memorable night!

What tips/ advice would you give to people who are considering studying Nursing at Birmingham?

I have always said to any prospective nursing student that you can only study this programme if you have a genuine passion for nursing and caring that will motivate you for the long shifts at placement, the commuting to and from placement and the academic requirements needed at Birmingham! Nursing by no means is an easy career path. However, it is a career that is incredibly rewarding and I absolutely love being a paediatric nurse. If you choose Birmingham, you will be choosing an institution that is highly reputable, research intensive, has amazing facilitates and will become your home-from-home! Birmingham is a fantastic place to study nursing and I assure you, it will be one of the best decisions you make.

How would you advise people to make the most of their time on their course?  

It is so important to gain the most of your lectures and lecturers and this is why it is mandatory to attend all lectures and seminars. Lectures, although may seem tedious, will provide you with the theoretical knowledge that will underpin your nursing care. Placement is also very important as it is here that you will learn the practical skills and utilise all that you have learnt in lectures to practice. Always seek to gain the most out of placement, every placement has heaps to offer. It is your responsibility to seek these opportunities and to experience different things. And lastly, get involved. Get involved with societies and student groups at university. Try something new, develop a passion or simply engage with like-minded people in religious/cultural/sport societies. It is these things that will create memories for you and will enhance your university experience. Enjoy it, three years will fly by and before you know it, you will be starting your life-long career as a nurse!