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  • 04 June 2021
  • 11 min read

Tips For School Leavers Who Are Considering A Nursing Degree

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    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
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Play video: "I think the most talked about thing and the thing that people ask me the most about is experience."

Student Nurse, Alexandria, gives her lived advice of entering into Nursing straight out of school, with hints on what to expect, and how to prepare for your journey into the world of healthcare.

Topics covered in this article


Get Some Experience

Plan Ahead

Don’t Leave Your Application Until Last Minute

Don’t Let Anyone Convince You University is Easy

Ask Plenty Of Questions

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Hi guys. For those who have never seen my face before, my name is Alexandria Grace or Alex as most people like to call me.

I am a second year Student Nurse at King's College London and I'm studying Children's Nursing.

Today's video is gonna be, as the title explains, about tips for school leavers who are considering a Nursing degree.

I get a lot of people messaging me, asking me about things they can do alongside revising for their A Levels to help with their application or people asking me about experience they should have, and people worrying like, oh, I don't have any experience.

I'm still in school, I'm going straight from school, how will I stand out from maybe people who have been working in healthcare for years and years?

So I just thought I'd make a video about it just to make things clearer, to help people and hopefully just give some useful advice.

Get Some Experience

So I think the most talked about thing and the thing that people ask me the most about is experience.

And I would definitely recommend getting some if you are a school leaver.

I went straight from school into Nursing school.

I did my A Levels. I had the summer holidays off my exams and then in September I started Nursing and I do not regret the decision at all, I think it was the best timing for me.

I wanted to get it out of the way as well.

And I just wanted to start my career as early as possible, and I've always wanted to go to uni.

So it was a no brainer for me, but everybody's different.

Experience-wise, I think is very important to have some experience because it's something else that you can talk about in your interview.

So for me, I was very lucky to be able to get some experience in neonatology, which was really, really interesting.

It's something I'm interested in, so that made it even more enjoyable so I was able to talk about quite a lot in my interviews.

And luckily, one of the people who was interviewing me was a neonatal Nurse.

So I think that helped me a lot in one of my interviews, but I didn't even end up going to that uni anyway, that's besides the point.

Getting experience is definitely harder now because of COVID and they're not just gonna let any random students come and work on a ward, for example, it's all very restricted now.

And I understand that 'cause a lot of people have been panicking thinking, oh my gosh, how am I gonna get work experience in a pandemic?

But just what you have to do is just ask around.

If you have any connections, ask people if there's any shadowing opportunities, anything that you can do, it doesn't even necessarily have to be in a hospital.

Just having any experience of caring for someone even if that's babysitting your little brother, babysitting your nephew or looking after a relative, or if you had an ill relative.

Any experience related to healthcare, looking after people, having the qualities of a Nurse, being compassionate, anything like that.

There's no specific criteria when you apply for Nursing that tells you you have to have experience in a hospital, you don't.

As long as you have some experiences in your life that can boost your application, just to really show that you are interested, then that is something I would definitely recommend doing.

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Plan Ahead

And if you can get experience and you are lucky enough to get some experience in a hospital or in a community setting or wherever.

Even in a Nursery, it really depends what field of Nursing you go into, to be honest.

But if you are lucky enough, then I would definitely recommend doing it the year before you do your exam.

So I did my experience in the summer, the end of year 12.

That was a perfect time because you're not juggling intense revision and exams and stuff and mock exams whilst doing work experience and whilst doing all these other things and trying to submit your UCAS application.

Just do it in enough advance so you're not stressed and don't have too much to juggle at once because then you literally break down and that is not what you want.

So, I recommend doing it the summer before your exams.

Don’t Leave Your Application Until Last Minute

Speaking of the summer before your exams, in that summer, I would also recommend starting writing your UCAS application, just to spread out the things you need to do because once you start year 13, you will have a lot on your plate.

So, it's best to spread your tasks out and keep organised so that when it comes to the UCAS deadline, that's one of the thing out of the way, and then you can just focus on getting your grades.

Speaking of grades, make sure you focus on your exams, focus on your topics and just really work on getting those grades.

You should know and you should research the grades that you need for the university that you want to go to and the course you want to study so you have something to aim for.

Make sure that your predicted grades are the grades that you need or higher so that the uni will accept you.

Just study hard because that should be your motivation especially when you get that conditional offer, and you know that the one thing that is standing in your way is just getting the grades that you need, then that gives you even more motivation.

And even though it is hard and it is stressful, just really, really focus on your exams.

Obviously don't focus too much, you need to have downtime.

But, just try your hardest because once you've got your offers, once you've got into the uni, that is literally the one thing standing in your way.

Another thing, don't leave certain things as part of your application to the last minute.

What I mean by this is with Nursing, there's a lot of things that you need to have to be able to enrol, not just certain grades or a good personal statement or a good interview.

You need to have a DBS check, you need to have proof of certain immunisations.

There's so many random, not random things, but things that are quite important before you start a healthcare degree.

So make sure you've got that in place.

You applied for your DBS, if you don't already have one.

You have evidence of your medical records.

If you need to, you might need to contact your GP for that.

Be as organised as you can 'cause then you'll just be stressing out in the summer after year 13, and you don't really want that.

You wanna live your best life before you start uni.

So yeah, just keep organised.

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Don’t Let Anyone Convince You University is Easy

Another thing, don't listen to the people that tell you that uni is easier than A Levels or sixth form or college or whatever you're doing because it's not true.

I think when people say that uni is easier or first year is easier, I don't think they necessarily mean it's actually easier, I just think they mean it's different.

Sixth form or college is very stressful in the sense you've got a lot of content to learn in a very short space of time, and there's a lot of pressure on you and you've got to apply for uni and there's all things going on.

But then uni, you don't have that stress anymore, you've got your place, you know what you're doing, but it's still stressful.

You might have less writing to do especially in Nursing to do as many assignments as say, law students, for example.

But it's still stressful and it's difficult in a different way, it's time consuming.

Your schedule will be all over the place with placement and uni.

You have to sacrifice some aspects of your social life, your sleep.

It may be academically easier depending on who you are, but, it will challenge you in different ways.

Just don't go into it thinking of someone on Twitter said uni is so much easier than sixth form, don't because you will be in for a shock lemme tell you that.

First year is obviously easier than second and third, but, it gets more intense and that's what happens with anything.

You start off easy because you're new, you're getting hang of the things and then you go build up.

And in Nursing, you become more and more independent and there's more and more expected of you, so you can't get complacent at all.

Also don't be hard on yourself because when you start the course and you're coming in as a school leaver, you might feel pressure when there's people on your course who may be have quite a lot of experience in healthcare, they may have another degree and then are coming back to uni to do Nursing.

They might have a lot more life experience, they might have experience in all different areas that you don't just because you're 18 years old and you're coming into this Nursing degree, and you're used to just reading books in school.

Everyone's different, everyone has their own stories, everyone has their own background, and a lot of people from a lot of different walks of life come and study Nursing.

Don't think you're any less prepared just because you're young and because you have less healthcare experience or none at all, that doesn't make you any less of a good Nursing student, and that won't make you any less of a good Nurse when you qualify.

So just trust in your own abilities and also don't let anybody else make you feel like you are less than because you are so young, and because you maybe less experienced because you're not and you're gonna learn on the job anyway.

That's why you're doing the degree, to learn, it's common sense, everyone's in the same boat.

You're all gonna be learning the same things at the end of the day.

So just trust in your own ability.

Ask Plenty Of Questions

Lastly, just ask questions.

Don't be afraid to ask questions.

No question is a stupid question.

You will feel anxious.

You will feel like, oh my God, 'cause it's a new situation.

You might feel a bit uncomfortable, you might not know what's going on.

Ask questions, be sociable.

Don't just talk to other school leavers as well.

Interact with the mature students, other people, anyone else on your course, 'cause you can all feed off each other and learn things from each other because you might have a different way of learning than them, you might have different life experiences.

So it's good to just feed off other people that are in a different situation to you.

Just don't stress.

It's obviously a big thing jumping straight from sixth form to uni, but it is a very normal thing and it is possible.

I'm doing it and I have no regrets of going straight from being a school leaver or to a uni student at all, even though it means I'm gonna be a very young Nurse.

I'm 20 at the moment, I'm gonna be 21 when I qualify.

So I'll be young, and I think there's a stereotype of Nurses being old ladies, but no.

I think Nurses are probably getting younger to be honest.

There's a lot of young Nurses out there.

And that doesn't mean we're any less intelligent or any less able to provide a good service for our patients.

So yeah, just believe in yourself, don't let anyone tell you otherwise, and good luck.

I think that's what I've got to say about that.

If anyone has any questions about that, then feel free to contact me.

That is the end of the video, I hope you enjoyed it.

I will see you in my next video, bye.

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About the author

I'm a Newly Registered Nurse specialising in Children’s Nursing, which I have a great passion for. I feel very strongly about equal treatment and care for everyone, as it sets all children and young people up for the best future possible! I create vlogs following my Nursing journey and advice videos to help others along their own journeys too.

    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
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  • 1669

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