• 22 April 2021
  • 12 min read

Thinking Of Studying Children’s Nursing? 1st Year Student Shares Her Tips And Advice

  • Saima Miah
    Children's Nurse Student
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
    • Katy Miah
    • Saima Miah
  • 0
  • 404
"My last tip is that interviewers are taken by surprise if you are updated on the current issues in healthcare. Try to read some articles and makes some keynotes"

This article explains how a 1st year Children's Nurse student built her experience in care before qualifying for a University place, plus other great tips you can learn from to follow the same route.

Topics Covered In This Article

Why Did I Decide To Be A Children's Nurse?

What Qualifications Do You Need to Study Children's Nursing?

I Worked In A Day Care Centre And This Is What It Taught Me

Local NHS Hospital Experience & The ‘Step Into The NHS’ Programme

What I Learned By Volunteering For A Children's Hospice

My Work Experience Helped My Nursing University Application

My Nursing University Interview Questions Tips

What You Will Learn When You Study Children's Nursing

How Does Children's Nursing Differ To Adult Nursing

What I Do As An RCN Student Ambassador

What I Hope My Children’s Nursing Career Will Be Like

Why Did I Decide To Be A Children's Nurse?

I decided to be a Children's Nurse for many reasons, but my subjects had a great influence on me.

I studied Child Development at GCSE level along with my other subjects and then went onto study Health and Social Care, Psychology and Sociology at A-level.

General interest in the subject was a big one for me since I was always fascinated by healthcare.

I always liked watching medical documentaries on our NHS and this was something that I could envision myself doing. Unlike most people, I like the hospital environment because I think it radiates hope everywhere.

Even though I have been in the hospital a few times for some of my family members, I always thought that there was something about it that just seemed to call me.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Study Children's Nursing?

Universities prefer you to have scientific subjects or subjects relating to the course such as Health and Social Care, Psychology, Sociology or Biology, but these aren't essential.

Remember that if you have already done GCSEs and A-levels, then there is always another way in such as an Access to HE Diploma course.

Most universities will ask for at least 5 GCSEs at a grade 4/C or above, including English and Maths (or equivalent qualifications to this, please check with them first).

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They would also ask for A-level grades (BTEC or A-level) around the grades BBC.

This equals around 112 UCAS tariff points which you can calculate on the 'UCAS tariff calculator'. Most universities will ask for around 112 Tariff points (or around BBC grades), while some Russel groups may ask for 120 (BBB) and some universities accept 104 points.

If you do BTECs or a mix of A-levels and BTECs, this should be adjusted for you.

After your interview, some universities may ask for a specific number of points altogether, while some may ask for specific grades in your subjects.

I Worked In A Day Care Centre And This Is What It Taught Me

My work experience in a Child Day Care Centre included looking after children for around half the day by playing with them, making sure they eat and sleep and develop.

Working here taught me that there are a lot of policies and procedures involved- even in caring.

For example, only staff with a DBS can change nappies and one staff member can only be allocated a certain ratio of children to care for.

I also learnt that everything was recorded. Every time they changed the nappy, the staff noted how much and what was done as well as how much food the child ate and how long they slept.

From my experience, I made sure to read up more on policies and procedures which helped me quite a lot in my course interview when I applied via UCAS.

Local NHS Hospital Experience & The ‘Step Into The NHS’ Programme

Working at my local NHS hospital gave me such a brilliant insight into the NHS staff life and made me that much more knowledgeable.

I did the 'Step into the NHS' programme which I applied for online.

The programme was four days long which included two days of basic training on areas such as conflict resolution, communication and how to manage difficult situations.

There were some specialist lessons included with new technology such as the geriatric stimulator, and the glasses you can wear to understand how different eye problems affect people.

The other two days included an allocation to a department in the hospital.

I was placed in a Clinical Diagnostics Unit for Bowel Cancer (you can request a specific placement if you wish).

I was able to observe consultations, procedures and the staff working in the office here. Working here made me realise how much difference I would have on peoples' lives, and how much I liked being in a hospital! I felt at home and I loved the learning experience.

In healthcare, there is so much to learn every day.

What I Learned By Volunteering For A Children's Hospice

Being a volunteer at Haven House Children's Hospice showed me that I would do all I can to make a difference no matter how small it is.

My job was to organise the toy cupboard and make sure the toys worked so the staff can find them easily and know the toys work.

The toys were used in the Hospice but were also available to borrow for children who may find sensory toys relaxing.

There were some events I was able to help with, but I have got to say that I loved the Cake and Bake Show.

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Do you have any questions about studying to become a Children's Nurse?

Ask Saima questions below

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At the event, we set up games for children such as a raffle and cake decorating, all the money went to Haven House.

I felt quite comfortable playing with the children and helping with activities because they were so vibrant.

My Work Experience Helped My Nursing University Application

Universities love it when they see on your UCAS application that you have experience.

Therefore, it is so important to input this experience into your UCAS personal statement.

Any previous care work experience shows a university how committed you are to nursing and learning and makes you stand out much more against other applicants. It also gives you something to talk about.

If you can, talk about your care experience because you can mention what things you may have learnt from them and how that related to nursing.

It shows that you know what you're applying for and have some sort of an idea.

My Nursing University Interview Questions Tips

Most of the interviews are called 'MMIs' which stands for 'Multiple Mini Interviews'.

This includes several stations where you are asked questions.

At each station, you are given a certain time limit to answer the question from the interviewer.

Some universities may have shorter or longer interviews and slightly different processes, but the idea is generally the same.

What I found useful was preparing for interviews by doing some research.

Researching the basic principles of nursing such as the 6Cs, finding out about the general roles and responsibilities of a nurse was very useful as it shows you have an interest in the course area and know your stuff.

Make sure to look at legislations and healthcare values as well.

You should be prepared to answer interview questions directed at you such as:

● “Why did you chose children’s nursing”

●  “How do you think you will cope with the challenges of the course?”

I found having a discussion with myself the best preparation for this!

It’s easy if you just answer honestly.

Interviewers will ask you if you have had any relevant (care) work experience and what you may have learnt from it.

If you haven’t had any specific care work experience don’t worry - you can talk about any other type of work you may have had.

There are always transferable skills and you should think about these and plan to talk about them.

If you worked in retail, for example, you could tell them how you dealt with angry customers and made sure they left the shop satisfied.

Just make sure to link this to nursing such as 'This is something I would have to do in nursing as I would have to make sure patients and their families are satisfied with their care.'

They also love to ask you about how important teamwork is and the positives and negatives of this.

In nursing, you may need to work with other professionals as a 'multi-disciplinary team' (MDT) so you should try to make a pro/con list beforehand.

Sometimes, the interviewer may give you a scenario and ask you what you would do in the scenario.

The best thing to do is clear your head and imagine yourself in the situation.

You should be calm and collected about your answers and remember that the patients should always come first (as well as parents in children’s nursing).

My last tip is that interviewers are taken by surprise if you are updated on the current issues in healthcare.

Try to read some articles and makes some keynotes.

I found this very effective, and I kept them all in a folder I read on the train before the interviews.

A good start would be to check out all the articles here on Nurses.co.uk !

What You Will Learn When You Study Children's Nursing

Different universities will name their topics slightly differently, but nursing courses always tend to be very similar.

You will learn a variety of topics such as Anatomy and Physiology of the human body as well as the normal function and diseases/problems associated.

You learn quite a bit about research and evidence-based practice in healthcare which underpins everything that you do and practice as a nurse.

This includes studies and how we can apply the outcomes to our practice.

There are other topics such as learning about mental health, coping and reflections which can help you cope with struggles as well as equip you to help other patients.

I learn quite a bit about communication and public health, so we know how to deal with patients' needs as well as leadership in nursing towards the end of the course.

How Does Children's Nursing Differ To Adult Nursing

Our branches of nursing overlap quite a bit, but we are taught separately most of the time.

Most topics can be taught to all branches of nursing, albeit with a focus on the branch.

For example, I am currently studying anatomy and physiology with a focus on child anatomy.

Adult Nurses would learn the same topic but have a focus on adults much more.

Children’s Nurses still learn some adult nursing content because we treat adolescents who are near to an adult.

Some topics may be taught to all the nursing branches in one lesson.

For example, I’m currently studying ‘Communication in Nursing’ with other Children’s, Adult, Mental Health and Learning Disability Nurses.

It's quite nice to have some lectures taught with the other nursing branches because it gives you a chance to make friends with people who are not on your course. It also gives you an insight into their branch specialty.

What I Do As An RCN Student Ambassador

The RCN is the 'Royal College of Nursing' which is a trade union for nurses and student nurses.

As an RCN Student Ambassador, I represent other nursing students at my university.

I am the point of communication between the students on nursing courses at my university and the RCN itself.

For example, if someone talks to me about an issue with their funding or their placement then I can discuss this with the RCN and try to direct them to someone who will sort it out.

I essentially am a voice for other students and help to improve the experience.

We also campaign for issues in nursing such as the #FairPay campaign.

The RCN talks to the government while we students raise awareness of this issue.

We aim to make nursing better for everyone.

What I Hope My Children’s Nursing Career Will Be Like

Although I am only a first-year student, I have already tried to research pathways in my future nursing career.

I hope to one day work with small children such as neonates who need intensive care and be able to work with other nurses and midwives.

I also aim to inspire other nurses as well as students because I want to make a difference.

I want to be able to leave a legacy behind that will be remembered like Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale.

As someone with a BAME background, and more so an Asian background, I wish to be there as a role model in the future.

I will fight for equality in healthcare and better healthcare so we can best look after patients.

I want to be remembered for what I do.

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Do you have any questions about studying to become a Children's Nurse?

Ask Saima questions below

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About the author

  • Saima Miah
    Children's Nurse Student

I’m in my first-year studying Children's Nursing in London. I have a passion for child development and studied A-Level Psychology and Sociology, and also the BTEC Level 3 in Health And Social Care. I’ve had plenty of work experience such as in a daycare centre, as well as work experience in my local NHS hospital. I also volunteered in Haven house Children's hospice. I’m currently a Student Ambassador for my university as well as the RCN.

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  • Saima Miah
    Children's Nurse Student

About the author

  • Saima Miah
    Children's Nurse Student

I’m in my first-year studying Children's Nursing in London. I have a passion for child development and studied A-Level Psychology and Sociology, and also the BTEC Level 3 in Health And Social Care. I’ve had plenty of work experience such as in a daycare centre, as well as work experience in my local NHS hospital. I also volunteered in Haven house Children's hospice. I’m currently a Student Ambassador for my university as well as the RCN.

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