Zoe Young – BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult) graduate

Current Employer: Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Current Job Title: Graduate Preceptee Registered Nurse

Current Location: Plymouth

“I would definitely recommend studying nursing with Plymouth University because the School of Nursing and Midwifery offer the best support and are always trying to improve the student experience.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I am currently embarking upon my first position as a registered nurse in the orthopaedic department within Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust. This role involves working in the elective joint surgery ward, but I hope to progress quickly through to trauma and to widen my nursing experience further.

How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

The exciting range of community and acute placements I had as a nursing student have given me the confidence to truly embrace nursing in different environments and has also shown me that I have developed the skills I need to really make a difference. Having a degree in nursing is really important in today’s healthcare environment as more and more responsibility is placed on nurses. I feel it has helped me to involve patients in making the correct decisions for them.

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

I feel like I am at my most difficult point in my career right now. I am excited and feel ready to start my position as a Registered Nurse, yet I am anxious and worried about the transition! I no longer have my student status to protect me, but will be responsible and accountable for every decision I make. However, being degree educated means I have everything I need to ensure I can be the best possible nurse I can be and be an advocate for my patients.

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

I have been very fortunate to have been involved in extra-curricular activities which have allowed me to present in front of international audiences, facilitate learning in other students, and travel to Barcelona to take part in the European Network of Nurse Education 2016. For me, the past three years at Plymouth University have been exhausting and tough yet exciting and rewarding! The best moment for me was in our final week, sitting with my peers and realising that as a cohort we had arrived at the end of our student journey together.  

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

I would have done this years ago! As a mature student, I was worried about returning to education but completing my nursing degree has been so rewarding and has given me the confidence to become a Registered Nurse.

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

I would encourage anyone who truly wants to be a nurse to do it! Studying a degree in nursing is not easy; in fact, I think it is one of the hardest degrees there is, but it is definitely the most rewarding. Make sure to prepare before you start by ensuring your Maths, English and Biology skills are up to speed: this will definitely help you and the way in which you approach care experience.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Plymouth is a great place to study nursing because the University is located in a beautiful part of the country and the support available to students is fantastic. For me, the most valuable asset the University has is its staff and students. The academics within the School of Nursing and Midwifery are amazing and, providing you work hard and truly want to be there, they will go above and beyond to help, support, and guide you to ensure you get the best nursing education possible. Fellow students on your course become your closest allies and you will laugh, cry, sweat, celebrate, and commiserate together on the roller coaster that is a nursing degree.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

I learnt that I am capable of studying at degree level and that I can do much more than I ever thought possible. I can stand in front of an audience now and talk freely about something which I am passionate about and believe in, justifying my decisions and actions using evidence to back up my argument both on paper and face-face. I never believed I would actually make it through the course and yet I have managed to secure a first class honours degree and successfully enter onto the nursing register with the NMC.

Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?

Yes, I had nine placements over my three years and loved every single one of them. Placements truly help to consolidate your learning and link theory to practice. Placements are also the only way to truly discover the amazing scope there is in nursing. I loved how I could move from a fast paced acute ward in a hospital to then becoming part of a community drug and alcohol team in primary care. The mentors who watched over me ensured not only that I was ready to progress each time but that I had made the most of my experience and opportunities in each clinical area.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

There are too many to pick, but some of the highlights for me are the first time I really felt like I had made a difference to a patient, receiving pass results for modules, and the last day at university when we sang, cried, and laughed together as a cohort with our academics because we had survived our journey together. I am also really looking forward to graduation day on Plymouth Hoe.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

Yes, I stay in touch with lecturers, my placement mentors, and my peers. In fact, I hope to return to Plymouth to complete a postgraduate degree now that I have discovered my passion for learning. I would also like to return to Plymouth eventually as a Clinical Demonstrator or Associate Lecturer as I love helping others to learn!

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

I would definitely recommend studying nursing with Plymouth University because the School of Nursing and Midwifery offer the best support and are always trying to improve the student experience. I would also encourage students to take every opportunity to get involved wherever you can; as a PALs Leader, a course representative, joining pilot projects or research teams, allowing you to broaden your skills and abilities which can only help you to become a better nurse!

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

Good luck on your nursing journeys. Have fun and work hard – you won’t regret it!

Inspired by this story?

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


Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other alumni from the Faculty of Health and Human Sciences are currently doing, please visit the health and social work interest area.