Why did you choose Plymouth University?
The decision to study at Plymouth University was an easy one to make. Not only is it local to my home but l had heard reassuring reports from friends who have also studied at Plymouth. The University is considered one of the top three modern Universities in the country and has state-of-the-art facilities for both the theory and practice elements of the course. This has become evident during my time here so far. Plymouth itself is a great city which has a lot to offer students from pubs, clubs, restaurants and it is ideally located for the sea, Cornwall and the moors.
What was your entry route onto the course?
Before starting my degree, l studied with The Open University. I was able to choose courses which were relevant to my areas of interest such as specific courses on mental health and health and social care. I had previously completed an access course in human biological sciences and this proved to be an excellent foundation for the modules in the first year of my degree.
What are your views on the practice placement element of your course?
My practice placement experiences have given me an excellent insight into working lives of nurses and other health professionals who specialise in the area of mental health. These placements have given me the opportunity to explore the different aspects of mental health nursing and environments such as inpatient settings and within the community with young and older people.
My mentors on placements have been supportive and informative, and have taken a great deal of time to insure that l have felt included within the teams and confident with the portfolio work. These experiences have opened my eyes to the many different career paths available to mental health nurses and the different approaches which can be used to aid people in their recovery.
What are the good and bad bits of the course? If there is anything negative, how have you dealt with this?
Unfortunately, I encountered a difficult situation in one of my placements. In my three days there I witnessed events and practice which I considered to be wrong. I immediately contacted my personal tutor at the university and disclosed this information to him. To my relief, I was completely supported by the university to make a complaint and was found an alternative placement.
This experience hasn’t had a negative effect on my enjoyment of the course. Quite the opposite, this has been the perfect opportunity to highlight areas of concern which unfortunately, occur in healthcare settings on a daily basis regardless of the structures put into place to ensure the safety and well-being of service users. By raising these concerns I hope that I have had an impact on improving the standards of care for the individuals within this setting and on a personal note have consolidated my values and beliefs which I have been able to implement into my practice.
The lectures have been fun. The tutors make learning easy with their humour and interactive sessions.
Is there any advice you would give to anyone considering a mental health nursing course?
I believe the field of mental health offers a variety of career paths including acute hospital settings, assertive community teams, rehabilitation as well as the opportunity to work with individuals of any age, their families and whole communities from different walks of life.
It would be helpful to talk to a mental health nurse in order to gain an understanding of the pressures and demands of this career as well as the many rewards it has to offer.
I would also suggest coming along to an open day when you can meet with the course tutors, explore the facilities available on campus and chat to people about your experiences and expectations to see if this is the right course for you.
Melissa provided this case study whilst she was a 1st year student at Plymouth University.