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  • 19 October 2010
  • 4 min read

Julia Sellwood - final year student nurse

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Julia talks about balancing her nursing course with family life, and her ambitions for her nursing career ahead.

Can you introduce yourself, the course you’re currently studying and how far into your studies you are?

My name is Julia Sellwood, I am 45 years of age and a mother of 5 children. I am doing a diploma in adult nursing and am in my final year.

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What made you decide to study to become a nurse?

I chose to study to become a nurse after doing the NVQ3 in health and social care at the local trust where I was working. The reason I decided to do adult nursing was because I had previously been working on an assessment unit, and I enjoyed caring for people.

I wanted to do something that was challenging and rewarding.

What placements have you completed so far?

So far my placements have been in trauma and orthopaedic, and I have also spent time on the gynaecology surgical ward where I have been able to watch a variety of operations including hysterectomy; vaginally and abdominally.

I have enjoyed my placements in the community nursing team where I worked with the district nurse and also with the community COPD team.

In my final year I have had a placement in the stroke unit. My next placement is on a gastroenterology ward, which will be my final placement.

In between the main placements I have completed some mini placements with the health visitor, in a care home for people with learning disabilities, and have also spent time nurse specialists such as PAR's and the pain nurse.

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How did you find going on placement the first time, were you prepared well enough for it?

All the staff at my first placement were very supportive, and I was given much guidance and I was made to feel like a member of the team.

I do feel that I was prepared for my first placement because I had started to read some of the NMC code before the placement began. I also bought a student nurses guide book, which helped a great deal.

Do you find it difficult to manage the balance between academic and practical work?

I found it important to balance my time between work, study and family so I set out a graph showing time for each.

I also felt it was important to have some quality time for myself so I developed a programme for managing each part of my life, which I used daily at the beginning of my course. However, I no longer need to use this has I have learnt how to manage my time accordingly.

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Is there one area of nursing in particular you feel drawn towards, and that you might want to work in when you qualify?

I feel that I am drawn to gynaecology and also to working with patients that have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). These two areas have been a great influence to my training, however I enjoyed my placement with the district nurse; wound care is extremely vast and I really feel that this would be my ideal area to work in.

I do feel that tissue viability would most probably be the direction to go to fulfil my nursing career, but this would be after I have worked for some time on a hospital ward to develop my managerial skills.

Is there any advice you could give for prospective student nurses looking at different courses and institutions?

If anyone is interested in nursing, congratulations it is a wonderful career. Caring for people is a very rewarding.

When you are looking into where you are going to study look at your finances and what you are able to afford, check with the university on what accommodation is going to cost.

Remember to budget, it's hard but you can do it. Good Luck.

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About the author

I believe people should be able to choose to enjoy work. That is, choose an employer who reflects their values and provides them with a sustainable career.

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