Nicola Stanfield Caile - BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult Health)

Nicola's journey at the University of Plymouth Exeter School of Nursing

Name: Nicola Stanfield Caile

Course: BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult Health)

Site: Exeter School of Nursing

"I like attending a satellite campus as I like the smaller cohort and more relaxed atmosphere, but with the expertise of instructors from the University of Plymouth."

Studying at The Exeter School of Nursing

"I decided to study nursing because I needed a change. I had an English degree under my belt, and had worked in journalism and advertising copywriting for years. I decided I wanted a more hands-on career, something where I could actually help people, instead of trying to sell them things. I began by working in care for several years, but this was unsatisfying and I always felt I could be doing more, especially in the field of end of life care, my passion.
I literally woke up one day thinking, why don’t I try to become a nurse? The deadline for applications for the September 2018 cohort was quickly approaching, so I quickly studied what I needed to do and applied!"

"I chose The Exeter School of Nursing because I live in Taunton, and it was the closest programme that I could attend. I had options in Yeovil and Bristol, but I love Exeter as well, so I liked the idea of spending more time there. The great thing is that while a student may attend class in Exeter, they can choose a clinical placement nearer to where they live, and choose the geographic area in which they do their placements, so your placement area can be more relevant to you. I like attending a satellite campus as I like the smaller cohort and more relaxed atmosphere, but with the expertise of instructors from the University of Plymouth."

"The wide variety of placements I have experienced has opened my eyes to how many options there are for nurses, and how many fields and specialties and locations I could go into. I still have a passion for end of life care, and my optional placement this year is in that field. But perhaps for now, I should just go back to the basics. I want to do something to help people."

Focus on skills

"Being a student nurse is a challenge and a joy."

When it comes to theory, I love being able to understand how the body works, and understanding things on a cellular level such as why we get ill or how medications target certain symptoms. It can get complicated but once you understand the systems that keep us running and why things go wrong, I feel that it can really inform your practice.

It's not all about biology and theory however, I love talking to people and understanding their situations and feelings. Being able to listen well is a huge skill for nursing that needs to be practiced out in the field, and sometimes that ability to speak is just what the patient needs. If I can’t offer anything else to a patient, I can offer a listening ear.

"At my last placement, I was able to get out and do health promotion, offering health checks (blood pressure, BMI, blood glucose) to workers. Being able to talk to people about their health, diet, and lifestyle was surprisingly fun and rewarding, and these sometimes turned into discussions about mental health."

"At times, it has taken all my resilience to balance this degree with family life, social life, work, and time to relax. But it has also been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It is that feeling when you leave a great shift at placement, where you felt you have applied your learning and gained new skills. That feeling when you get positive feedback from a patient about your attitude and aptitude. Or when you read a phrase like “respiratory ketoacidosis” or “proliferative retinopathy” and actually know what it means, when a year ago you would have been clueless."

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying nursing, please visit our BSc (Hons) Nursing (Adult Health) page. 

For more information about our range of health courses within the School of Nursing and Midwifery, please visit the school page.