I applied for BSc Children’s Nursing when I was 25 years old. Prior to this, I studied and graduated with a BA in English and American Studies. Not really knowing what I wanted to do after graduation, I accepted a job my friend signposted me to: working on a summer play scheme with children with severe learning and physical disabilities and behaviour. It was a tough four weeks and a very steep learning curve, but I realised that I loved the rewarding nature of this work and the children.
I worked for four years in special schools, community play schemes and respite. During those years I toyed with the idea of nursing and also looked into teaching. However, I only wanted to work in special schools which proved a difficult route and also very limiting to me in terms of progression and scope. I finally made the decision to go into children’s nursing, realising that the job would be perfect for me as I really enjoyed working with parents, supporting children with life-long and life-limiting conditions, the wide variety of specialities that there are in paediatrics and the opportunity to move around these areas of expertise.
My previous work experiences were really beneficial to me especially the practice placements. The challenging nature of my background means that in most circumstances I am calm and able to problem solve and my experience of supporting very stressed parents has been invaluable. Rather than the practical side of the nursing course, I was more worried about the academic side.
Having accepted a place at King’s College London, it dawned on me that the academia would be testing. However, there was no need to worry as the support from academic and other staff within the university was, and is, brilliant. Another large body of support comes from your peers. When people say that you make friends for life on your nursing course, they are telling the truth. The course can be very hard at times and the people on your course are going through exactly the same things as you are – it is only natural you bond!
Not only has the course itself been life affirming, but I have had the opportunity to do more than I ever realised and it has stretched me beyond all capabilities I ever thought I had possessed. I am part of the KCL Nursing and Midwifery Society and I am the sub-editor of the nursing and midwifery section of the GKT Gazette, the oldest hospital journal in the world. I have had opportunities in practice, as I am placed in a tertiary centre of excellence, such as observing innovative spinal surgery and experiencing neonatal research which is not practiced anywhere else in the UK. Despite the challenges faced by the NHS, I feel really privileged to be a part of amazing multi-disciplinary teams and, more importantly, of families’ lives in what is arguably the worst situation they may ever find themselves in if their child is very poorly. This is what gets me through the tough times during the course. This is nursing – a profession I am proud to be joining.
Charli, 3rd Year, BSc Children’s Nursing
For more information on Children’s Nursing, click here.