Swansea University student, Sara Davies, explains what a nursing degree entails, and how it has helped her understand the nursing profession and prepare for a career as a qualified nurse. About Matt Farrah - follow me on Google+

You’re studying adult nursing at Swansea University. What year are you in and how have you found the course so far?

As a third-year student, I have found the course to be both physically and mentally challenging. Balancing the theoretical demands of the University and the physical challenges faced in clinical practice have taught me the importance of effective time keeping and ensuring excellent organization skills. In turn, these attributes have ensured an enjoyable yet important work-life balance.

Do you know yet which area of adult nursing you might like to specialise in, and why?

Every experience gained throughout my training has been positive, but I feel drawn towards coronary care nursing jobs. Having spent a six-week placement within a cardiac unit, the level of professionalism, knowledge and expertise of the nursing staff impressed me greatly. Further, the skills practiced within this speciality are applicable to every aspect of nursing as coronary care is central to the health and well-being of every patient. As a newly qualified nurse, I wish to work in a challenging and ever-evolving area, making a real difference to patients’ quality of life. Coronary care provides me with this exact opportunity.

Have you always wanted to work in nursing - and if so why?

From an early age, my ambition has always been to be a nurse. Since childhood, I have helped my father on our farm to care for the animals. This gave me a strong nursing incentive especially when caring for those who were sick. My ambition was further enhanced when my sister commenced midwifery training and a family friend qualified as a nurse. Their insight and enthusiasm nurtured my longing to enter the profession and gave me the confidence to apply to study for a nursing degree.

How did previous healthcare experience prepare you for the course and would you recommend others always get healthcare experience before considering a nursing degree?

In my opinion, gaining work experience within the field of healthcare is essential. It raises an awareness of the demands of the profession both physically and psychologically. Further, it allows an individual to gain basic nursing skills, which is the essential foundation in providing effective care to patients of all ages suffering from varying health problems.

What placements have you had during your course - can you explain them and how you think it helps.

I have gained experience in a variety of specialist areas ranging from community to hospital settings, i.e. Health Visiting, District Nursing, Neurology, Cardiac, Stroke, Orthopedics and General ITU. My community nursing placements have given me an opportunity to work independently thus enhancing my decision-making skills and my confidence in discharging my duties. Hospital placements have challenged my abilities to adapt to working within a team. Unlike community responsibilities, ward patients present a high turn over, which challenge my skills in achieving an effective rapport with patients. In both placement settings, I have gained experience and knowledge in a variety of illnesses and problems affecting patients. It has also enabled me to learn the importance of each individual’s role within the multi-disciplinary team.

What tips or advice would you give to someone before they take a degree in nursing?

Prior to commencing a degree in nursing, I would advise prospective students to gain work experience in the field of healthcare. Further, I would suggest taking a keen interest in political, social and economical issues affecting public health provision within the United Kingdom and devolved areas. This will provide students with an insight into the challenges facing the profession.

Do you hope to find a nursing job in Wales when you finish? And what’s your view of the jobs market for nurses at the moment?

Upon completion of my studies, I wish to secure a post within Coronary care. However, the limited nursing posts currently available in the NHS is perturbing especially as a student completing three years of training. Therefore, in order to achieve this goal, I am prepared to travel further afield. The position is much more important than my geographical location.