Charlotte Bellhouse

Year of graduation: 2016

Current employer: Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Current job title: Staff Nurse

Current location: London

“When you realise you’ve made a difference to someone’s day, even with a small conversation or just a smile, it makes all the hard work worth it.”

Tell about your career path since graduation.

Since completing my studies I have moved to London to start working for Guys and St Thomas’ Trust rotation. I have just completed my second week on a surgical vascular ward where I will be spending the next six months before I then move on to my next rotation.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

No, I found out in May that I would be moving to London to begin work at Guys and St Thomas’. It was actually the only job I applied for, so luckily I was successful at the interview and was offered the job. A little silly, but it turned out the way I had hoped. A trust rotation, for me, is very exciting as I can gain experience within different specialities which will expand my knowledge and skills.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The transition from student to nurse is just terrifying. The lecturers at university tell you about it but you don’t realise the impact until you actually go through it: you are now solely responsible for your patients! Moving to a different trust where all paperwork, policies, and procedures are different has been very difficult as you have to continuously ask the most simplest of questions like, ‘how do I log into the computer!’

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Moving to London (the big smoke), of course; although absolutely terrifying, it is amazing. I love to travel and experience different places so it’s a great opportunity to do that! The rotation is also exciting as I will get to experience different ward settings and continuously meet new people, with whom I can share experiences and knowledge! Another exciting thing is that, since moving to London, I’m only an hour and a half from home so I can pop back for a Sunday roast!

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

I would probably have worked in my first year rather than the second and third, so I could have saved up more money and enjoyed my last year rather than working all the time. My placements were in North Devon, so my spare time in my second and third year was taken up with working. I did work with fantastic people and kept my skills up during the holidays, but I would have loved to have had the time to enjoy my last year a bit more.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Gain healthcare experience before you start: it’s a great way to gain some basic care skills, plus you can save some money for the impending fresher’s week! It is a very rewarding job, although there are lots of up and downs and it’s incredibly scary when you step into the ‘real’ world of nursing! But when you realise you’ve made a difference to someone’s day, even with a small conversation or just a smile, it makes all the hard work worth it.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The University helped me to learn basic nursing skills in my first year, which developed into more technical skills as I progressed through the course. These skills helped when on placements, where I put them into practice and built on them. My placements were varied, which was nice, as I experienced many different settings from community hospitals in North Devon, district nursing, and finally a placement at Derriford Hospital.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

I have lots of good memories from my time at Plymouth. Academic wise it would be clinical skills, as this is where my friends and I would meet up during placements to exchange experiences and learn in a fun way all the skills we needed. With regards to my personal life, it is all the fantastic friends I met there and will continue to have by my side. It’s important to gain a good friendship circle as those friends will be there to support you through university life and buy you a beer or pizza when you’re totally skint!

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University, and why?

Yes. Although it has been a very challenging time, it has made me appreciate the small things in life! As my placements were far away, I used to stay up in North Devon which made me appreciate my time at home with my friends a lot more. It taught me how to budget my income effectively which will also help in my goal to become a home owner in the near future.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

You never know what’s around the corner. Live life to the fullest and follow your dreams. Take every opportunity that is given to you, as you may never get the chance again. Appreciate the friends you make at university – not only will you share amazing memories of your three years with them but they will also become lifelong friends!

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult Health), please visit our BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult Health) page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Nursing and Midwifery, please visit the school page.

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Adult Nursing student