Adult Nursing

My elective nursing placement in Sri Lanka was an eye opener

Earlier this year, as part of my BSc Adult Nursing course, I completed an elective nursing placement in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, with Work the World. I didn’t know what to expect, and I knew it would be a lot of work to organise and fund, but I love travelling so the opportunity to do a placement abroad was too good to pass up – and I am so glad I did it.

Despite considering myself to be fairly open-minded and culturally aware before my trip, the whole experience was a complete eye-opener. I learned so much about Sri Lankan culture, healthcare and myself – both as a person and an aspiring nurse.

I did encounter some problems, often as a consequence of the language barrier, such as being unable to communicate with staff and patients as well as I had been able to during my UK placements. At times I also felt helpless or disheartened when observing differences in practice, which were often the result of limited resources or contrasting cultural beliefs. However, these issues were all overcome by making a conscious effort to learn about the language and culture before and during my time in Sri Lanka – and discussing these observations with other students, staff and local people. That really bettered my understanding and I learned how lucky we are in the UK to have such easy access to compassionate and evidence-based healthcare and that’s something which I am sorry to say that I previously took for granted.

My time in Sri Lanka highlighted to me the importance of being assertive, resourceful and compassionate and, following my placement, I put together a piece of reflective work for the King’s Experience Global Award. This programme is one of several extra-curricular learning opportunities which are facilitated by King’s Experience and are available to all students across the university who wish to receive feedback and recognition of personal learning experiences outside of normal university setting. This may have come from community service, travel opportunities, research or even from learning another language.

Writing about my time in Sri Lanka prompted me to thoroughly reflect on my experience, to explore the impact of culture on health and care, and to evaluate my own cultural beliefs and the way that these could potentially influence nursing practice. It was also a good way to receive some external feedback on my academic writing style!

All students in my cohort undertook an elective placement and enjoyed their time as much as I did while working as student nurses in the UK or abroad. However, for me personally, the King’s Experience scheme and my international elective were incredibly rewarding experiences. I feel that I have broadened my horizons, enhanced my communication skills and vastly improved my self-confidence. I would definitely encourage other students to take up either opportunity during their time at university, and I hope they have the same rewarding experiences as I did – wherever in the world they choose to go.

Ellen Madhani, second year student in the Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery

 

Financial support enabled me to continue my voluntary work

Hi, I’m Marija. I’m a first year BSc Adult Nursing student at King’s College London, and I’m a Perseverance Trust Scholarship holder.

The immense honour and privilege I feel to have been chosen as a recipient of the scholarship is only paralleled by the pride I have to be studying within the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery. This is due to the incredibly large range of academic opportunities and extracurricular activities on offer to students who study here, and you can’t ignore the fact that we’re ranked as the top Nursing School in the UK and third in the world!

I discovered the Perseverance Trust Scholarship through independent research for financial support opportunities prior to the start of my course. As I was eligible, I knew I would be applying for the scholarship once I received my offer to study at King’s. So, as you can imagine, I was overcome with joy when I was awarded the scholarship as I knew how much of a financial burden would be taken off my shoulders. My joy largely stemmed from the knowledge that the additional financial support would enable me to continue my voluntary work in palliative care, which is the area that I plan to specialise in once I am qualified. Without that additional funding I might not have been able to afford to volunteer my time and I feel I would have missed out on this really rewarding and beneficial opportunity.

Having increased financial stability has allowed me to focus on continuing to achieve to a high academic standard and to concentrate on providing a personal patient-centred approach while I’m on placement. Additionally, it has allowed me to take part in various other experiences offered by King’s to its students, such as the long list of societies and activities run by the student union.

I would encourage anyone starting their journey at King’s to apply for the scholarship. The process is quick and easy, and there’s always a member of the Faculty available to you to answer any questions regarding the application process. Trust me, it will be worth it.

Good luck!

I’m Melissa, a first year Postgraduate Diploma Adult Nursing student.

I’m going to tell you about life at King’s.

In addition to all of the first-class academic schooling, King’s provides you with a plethora of activities and chill-out spaces found across our five campuses. Our Faculty uses four of these campuses, including Waterloo, Guy’s, St Thomas’ and Denmark Hill in South London. However, we can visit the Strand campus too with its beautiful architecture and Thames-side location – but all the facilities and books you need will be at the other four campuses. Whatever else you are after from university life is available to you on or near our campuses – keep reading!

If you are after an area to hang out and grab a bite to eat with your new friends, our campuses offer countless cafés and restaurants that cater to meat-eaters, vegans and those who follow a halal diet (among other food preferences) at discounted student prices.  Alternatively, you can sample a flavour of home by joining a society with dishes, films and events centred around your culture, or choose to learn about new cultures too – it’s your choice!  All of these options and many more are available to King’s students, and you will never be bored!

The King’s College London Student Union holds numerous events throughout the year and has more than 260 student-run societies and activity groups available for you to join. If none of these tickle your fancy, you’re more than welcome to start up your own society. Not only do you have the opportunity to run a society and add this information onto your CV, but King’s will support you in the management of your group in relation to decision-making, event-planning and money-handling. Find out more, here.

If you’d prefer to get your blood pumping, you can try kick-boxing or netball. We compete with other universities in fencing, rugby, basketball, karate, and many other sports. Find out more, here.

So whether you desire some reflection time within one of our prayer spaces, a tension-relieving dance session at one of our bars with some of your course mates, or a cheeky glass of wine at one of our restaurants –  the choice is 100% yours because here at King’s we recognise that true academic excellence can only be achieved by those who work hard and play harder.

Best wishes,

Melissa

Postgraduate Diploma Adult Nursing

 

Funding for nursing students explained by Melissa

My name is Melissa, and I am a postgraduate Adult Nursing student. In this blog I’ll be talking about funding.

Despite recent changes to the funding for undergraduate healthcare subjects, postgraduate diplomas are thankfully unaffected and diploma students will still be entitled to the NHS funded programme of study. This means that not only are your tuition fees paid for but, depending on whether you would be considered an independent (financially self-supporting) or a dependent student (financially reliant on one’s parent(s)/guardian), you may also be able to receive fiscal support for living costs. Click here to find out more!

So how does this process work? Once you receive an offer from King’s – whether it be unconditional or conditional – you will be prompted by UCAS to apply for your bursary. It is important to note that all students who apply to have their tuition fees paid for will receive a £1,000 annual bursary which is not means tested. So around March you can apply for your NHS Bursary, but you have until the end of May to apply and receive your allowance on time for the start of term. The application process is made simple through its step-by-step guide on what to do and, once you’ve filled in the online application with the relevant financial information, you will need to send off relevant original documentation to the given address. It is highly recommended that you use recorded delivery due to the importance of the documents.

Special allowances are also added to an individual’s entitlement, should they be eligible. This includes extra funding for childcare and adult dependents, among others. A London-weighting is also provided due to the high cost of living within a big city.

Once the whole process is complete you’ll be able to log into your account to see how much you are entitled to, and when you will receive your payment. However if your circumstances change during your studies, you are contracted to inform NHS Bursary and your allowance will follow suit. For example, if you are a classified as a dependent student living at home, and throughout the year you move out into your own accommodation, all you will need to do is fill in a ‘Change in circumstance’ form and send it off and your allowance will be altered.

Entitlement to the NHS Bursary is not at all affected by whether you possess a previous degree and/or a previous set of loans.

Lastly it’s important to stress that this may all seem rather daunting and possibly discouraging, but there are many opportunities to find work through King’s College London in order to obtain extra income. King’s also gives away annual scholarships and there is a Hardship Fund which provides eligible students struggling financially with monetary support.

Though the application process may be new and rather time-consuming, NHS Bursaries are the link to higher development and bright career aspects for many individuals. I can attest to this fact as I love my current studies and the career I’m moving into – and that wouldn’t be possible without going through this funding process. We here at King’s encourage you to research your options in regards to funding, and not allow finances to be a barrier between you and your destined career.

For the full list of funding scholarship and funding opportunities click here.

Best wishes,

Melissa Vandy

Adult Nursing

Have an offer to study Nursing at King’s? Deborah is here to help

I’m a 3rd year BSc Mental Health student at King’s and I’m one of the student buddies.  I’m here to help students through this exciting and even daunting decision time. I aim to provide you with information that may answer some of your queries or concerns and help you make one of the most important decisions of your life so far. I know what it feels like because I was in your position not that long ago.

So I’m guessing you probably want to know about funding for the Nursing course. As we are all aware, there have been plenty of changes over the last year in relation to funding which are hard to keep up with.

If you are applying to King’s to study Nursing, here’s what you need to know:

From 2017 new Nursing and Midwifery pre-registration students will have access to the same student loans system as other students. You will pay the loan back when you start earning a certain amount of money after your degree. You might get extra money on top of this, for example if you’re on a low income, are disabled or have children. You can find hints and tips on how to manage your budget here:

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/campuslife/services/student-advice-support/how/money/index.aspx.

If you are applying to King’s you have the opportunity to apply for Nursing and Midwifery scholarships. These are available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. More information about scholarships is available here http://www.kcl.ac.uk/nursing/study/funding/scholarships.aspx .

 

Good luck!

Deborah Ayodele

DeborahAyodele

My first nursing placement

Having worked as healthcare assistant for almost three years prior to starting the nursing course, I had some preconceptions about what my first placement would be like.

This was an advantage and a disadvantage to me as one of my biggest worries was that I would fall back into the role of a healthcare assistant (HCA) on placement which would prevent me from learning as much as I could as a student nurse.

I expressed these worries to my mentor who encouraged me to understand my new role on the ward as a student nurse. An advantage to my experience was having a shorter adjustment period to get used to working in a hospital, which enabled me to get started on developing my skills. One way I was able to do this was by spending time, and sometimes a whole day, with members of the multidisciplinary team. I was able to learn about the role of Physiotherapists, Clinical Nurse Specialists, the Charge Nurse and Phlebotomists. This was very useful as by understanding the role of other members of the team I found it was easier to understand my own role.

It is worth saying that experiences will differ greatly from ward to ward for each individual. I feel as though one placement cannot be representative of your nursing career and learning experience which is why it is so great that we have a multitude of placements.

There will be some aspects that you enjoy and others that you don’t. I had to remind myself that it was ok to not enjoy 100% of the placement and that nursing is a challenging career. The thing that helped me the most throughout my placement was the support of my very dedicated mentor and liaising with my friends on the course who all have ups and downs themselves! Even at the end of such a short (5 week) placement I did feel sad to be leaving the team who had made me feel so welcome.

Geraldine, 1st Year, PG Dip Adult Nursing

For more information on PG Dip Adult Nursing, click here.

To read more about Geraldine’s experience’s, click here.

Outside to Inside – reflections of a prison nurse

I started my career in Offender Healthcare long before even contemplating nurse training. For 17 years, I was a Healthcare Assistant in a multitude of settings which included general medical, surgical, psychiatric and, eventually, offender health. I joined the workforce at HMP Wadsworth in 2006 as the prison’s first ever Substance Misuse Healthcare Support Worker and remained in this post until I was extremely fortunate to have been seconded by St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust to undertake my Nurse training in 2012. I was all the more fortunate be accepted to study at King’s College London.

My time at King’s enabled me to reaffirm and build upon existing knowledge and skills, while also learning and developing those skills required for practising once qualified. Training was definitely an eye opener and helped me to fully appreciate and understand exactly what it takes to become a registered nurse. Upon reflection, although I always had great respect for the profession, I did not have a full appreciation of how far nursing has advanced; what it takes now to achieve a degree in nursing and also what is required to maintain that registration and develop it once qualified. The modules that were incorporated into the programme took into account the requirements of being a registered nurse of today and that care is evidence based and delivered at a holistic level.

Although not an expectation of St George’s, it was always my intention to return to HMP Wandsworth as a qualified nurse. I enjoyed the challenges and unpredictability that came with working in such a setting where no two days were ever the same. I felt privileged to have the opportunity to work with one of society’s most underrepresented and often stigmatised patient groups.

I was aware that returning as a qualified nurse was likely to bring fresh challenges in a professional role in which I was now fully accountable and working alongside colleagues who once remembered me as a Healthcare Support Worker. I was often reminded of a common belief that prison nursing can deskill you as a practitioner. In some ways this could well be true as some of the skills you would apply in a ward setting, for example, would not necessarily be used in the prison setting. However, to nurse within the prison setting requires essential skills and qualities that frequently require fine tuning and adaptation.

These include:

  • Methodical and rapid assessment in both clinical and emergency settings recognition of who may be considered vulnerable
  • Excellent communication skills that are adaptable to the individual and environment
  • Empathy and a non judgemental approach to all whom are under your care
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability.

The list is non exhaustive, but it would be fair to say that these are all skills and qualities that are also applied within the general setting outside of prison. However the challenges that come with working within the strict constraints of prison, due to security needs, require nursing staff to constantly adapt to the environment at any given time and reevaluate priorities to ensure care is still delivered.

The working day of a prison nurse is rarely predictable and the roles and tasks I would undertake could range from running nurse triage clinics to assisting the emergency nurse in the event of incidents that are relatively commonplace in prison such as cardiac arrest, deliberate self-harm or the adverse effects of psychoactive substances such as the legal high commonly known as ‘Spice’.

In addition, a key part of prison nursing is the health screening of new prisoners who come into our first night ‘Reception’ centre. They are then seen again in the ‘Second Day Screening’ clinic the following morning. These clinics are specific to the identification of any prisoners who are at risk or currently suffering from chronic physical or mental health problems. Such clinics are also crucial in identifying vulnerable groups such as those with substance misuse issues, learning difficulties, former veterans and younger prisoners or first timers. The needs of each of these groups are individual and therefore effective communication through appropriate referral to relevant departments and agencies ensures that the safety of the individual is maintained. The importance of getting it right over the first two days cannot be underestimated and time is of the essence. There are tight time limitations on these clinics, particularly in Reception where prisoners need to be processed swiftly to ensure they are located on the wings without delay. Constant communication with the discipline staff is essential to ensure that no prisoner gets missed and, subsequently, lost in the prison system with potential health problems that may require attention.

The prison also has a six-bedded hospital unit known as the Jones Unit. This houses those who may be too sick to remain on prison wing locations, or who have returned from an outside hospital and require a period of observation and stabilisation before returning to the wing. During shifts spent on the unit I have managed a full patient caseload supported by one healthcare assistant. I have been responsible for ensuring individual care needs are met, as identified in their care plans. During my last shift on Jones I had to send two patients out to hospital due to reported deteriorations in their Early Warning Scores (EWS) and general health state. This meant liaising with the duty GP and duty prison Governors to ensure that they were transferred out to hospital without delay. In the interim, their health was maintained through regular observations and, for one, administering supplementary oxygen after a rapid drop in his saturation levels.

This is just a brief overview of what tasks and duties can be typically expected of a prison nurse over any working day. It is variable and rarely dull as, wherever you are based in the prison on any given day, there is always something to do or learn. A thick skin and strong stomach are essentials for such a post, as is life experience and being an excellent multi-tasker. If this is you, I would strongly recommend this as a career choice. The job as a prison nurse can be extremely challenging and, at times, frustrating but the small achievements made along the way make it a rewarding vocation.

Christine is an alumna of King’s College London

For more information on Adult Nursing, click here.

Chrissy

Can part-time work fit with your studies?

I received mixed feedback about how easy it was to do part-time work alongside the university course but, from the start, I knew I wanted to work to keep my expenses under control.

The course, like any other university course, has some quieter periods throughout the year which is why casual work is so useful. It allows you to work more when it’s quiet and less when you have more hours on placement because you are in control of booking your own shifts.

Throughout my first term I experimented with a few different jobs to find out what would work for me. After struggling to find (healthcare assistant) HCA work on the bank, I decided to postpone that idea until I had done at least one placement as it would be easier to work within my principal Trust at that point.

I did temporary work in an office, as a waitress and with the University. If I could give any advice it would be don’t be afraid to tell your employer ‘no’. I had to remind myself that I moved to London to do the course and if I was so burned out from working all the time, I would not get the best experience from being a student nurse as possible. Saying that, London is a fantastic place to find casual, part-time work as there are so many working opportunities in the City. Therefore, if you need to work during the course, it will be easy to find work. The best opportunity I got was to work within the University, as you won’t be a student forever and it’s a great way of meeting people within the faculty!

Having a little extra cash has helped me enjoy my time off even more, allowing me to spend Christmas in a warmer climate. The hard work has been worth it!

Geraldine, 1st Year, PG Dip Adult Nursing

For more information on PG Dip Adult Nursing, click here.

For more information on the Perseverance Trust scholarship, click here.

A warmer Christmas break

My Christmas ‘Snowman’