Victoria Cole, Child Health Nursing

Why did you choose Plymouth?

I wanted to choose a University away from home to gain some independence but also live not too far from home so I could visit my parents often! I visited Plymouth for the first time on the open day and immediately knew I wanted to live here. The University is situated right by the centre and within walking distance of the Barbican and Hoe giving it beautiful surroundings with plenty of great night life. It also means I can jump out of bed ten minutes before lectures if I want to!

What was your entry route to the course?

I knew I wanted a career in nursing since I was young, therefore did the appropriate A levels which I thought would benefit me, enabling me to gain the correct grades to get on to the course. This is especially important with children's nursing as there are only a limited number of spaces available on the course.

My course is quite full-on, leaving not much time in the day to do many other activities, however lectures usually finish around 4pm therefore I still have time to participate in any clubs or social events in the evenings when I don't have any work set! The work load does inevitably progress as you go from year one through to year three but I soon learnt how to manage my time effectively to enable me to get all my work done by the deadline. 

What are your views on the placement element of your course?

I have had a great variety of placements ranging from Plymouth to Taunton and have gained a lot of experience from these which I believe will be valuable skills as I progress through my career in nursing. I had the option to say which area I wanted my placement to be in and usually managed to get my chosen area which has been a great help as it means I have to claim less for travel and accommodation. However, when I have had to travel to different areas it has given me more experience with nursing as I have had an insight as to how different areas in the South West practise slightly differently and have learned things from different viewpoints.

I like having both lectures and placements but I would prefer them being set out a little differently. For example, to have a block of lectures then placement immediately after to practise specifically what we have learned, then a block of lectures again and keep alternating to refresh ourselves on what we have learned and practised. This is just so we don't have too big a gap between placements so everything we have learned is still fresh in our minds and of more benefit to us.

What are the good and bad bits of the course? If there is anything negative how have you overcome this?

I have found the course quite tough at times with placement, especially when we have coursework due in whilst we are on placement. However, if you manage your workload and time correctly and perform to the best of your ability, this can easily be achieved. The positive points definitely outweigh the negative and I keep myself going by imagining the reward I will get when I graduate and can hopefully achieve my dream and be a qualified children's nurse for life.

Has the course changed your career goals at all?

When I graduate I would love to return to Bristol and work on a children's ward in Bristol Children's Hospital and get a couple of years experience before going on to do children's community nursing. I decided I wanted to be a part of the children's community nursing team after undertaking a placement with the community nurses as I found it very rewarding.