King’s College London

Where Can Your Nursing Degree Take You?

It’s Deborah again! If you’re thinking about your career prospects after you graduate, King’s is a great place to get started. Students here are offered heaps of careers support throughout and after their degrees – from finding relevant work experience to securing a part-time job. The King’s Careers & Employability Services are available to students for advice and guidance. I’m going to tell you about my nursing career experience so far.

So you have probably wondered where a degree in nursing or midwifery can actually lead you. “Become a nurse or midwife” is often the answer and, yes, that is correct and that used to be my answer too – but what type of nurse or midwife? It wasn’t until I started my BSc Mental Health Nursing course and my placements that I realised what a huge field nursing is. Saying you want to be a nurse when you graduate is just the starting point…

Ten placements later and I have been fortunate enough to have experienced numerous roles which have exposed me to nursing opportunities I didn’t even know existed. My placements have included working in a deaf adult community health team, a psychiatric decision unit (a unique service in mental health), a rehabilitation unit, an older adults ward and a psychiatric intensive care unit – and I will soon be shadowing the Director of Nursing too. It has been very varied and exciting and it has opened my eyes to all the different routes available to nursing students. And, if you’re thinking about studying midwifery, I’ve heard the same applies for you too – from caring for teenage expectant mothers to those experiencing birth difficulties, you’ll get a good range of placements to help you decide your midwifery career pathway.

The thing that makes King’s unique is the connections it has to so many NHS Trusts. I attended a King’s careers fair and I was surprised to see the roles I could take with such a large number of Trusts and organisations. I spoke with employers about becoming a staff nurse in an inpatient acute ward, joining a children’s and adolescents ward, working with eating disorder support teams and even going into forensic mental health. There were so many options.

In the meantime, to enhance my CV, I have participated in the King’s Leadership & Professional Skills Award (KLPSA) which has helped improve my communication and management skills and really boosted my confidence. Plus, I work as a Student Ambassador where I get to talk to prospective students about my course and King’s.

Fortunately for me, I will be qualifying with a King’s degree and King’s nurses are always in hot demand. There is a 99% employment rate. Before I’ve even finished my studies I have a job offer to work in a psychiatric decision unit within my current NHS Trust. I will be a staff nurse assessing clients and providing a plan as part of the multidisciplinary team. This is a role I am greatly excited about but three years ago I didn’t even think a job like this existed.

Nursing is a lifetime career, with so many different destinations. I wish you the best of luck on your journey, it will be the best road you ever walk.

Best wishes,

Deborah

BSc Mental Health Nursing

For more information on Mental Health Nursing, click here.

 

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 journey at King’s and a career in mental health nursing

I grew up in a country where there is a lot of myth and stigma surrounding mental illness. I quickly became interested in understanding the facts, the ways to deliver care and how to communicate with people with mental health conditions. As nursing was frowned upon when I initially suggested training as a nurse at age 16, I actually ended up studying accountancy (HND) after secondary school.

But luckily, in 2004, I had the opportunity to come to the UK. Unfortunately, I was unable to study mental health nursing at university after my Access to Nursing course, because of a restriction on foreign students.  I remained focused on my desire to become a nurse by studying for NVQ level 3 and 4 in Health and Social Care, Beauty Therapy, BSc Hon. Health and Social Care and Masters in Psychology and worked with the mental health Charity (MIND) for 7 years.

In 2014, I became eligible for the Nursing program because my immigration status changed!

I was very attracted to the course at King’s because of its reputation.  I was ecstatic when I got offered a place and have thoroughly enjoyed studying here. I am particularly impressed with King’s high standard of education, which encourages a high level of interaction between staff and students, and offers a good balance between clinical placements and classroom learning.  I feel that the high reputation of King’s students in clinical settings is second to none.

Six months for the completion of my course, I was offered a position as a staff nurse at a Medium Secure unit in the Midlands, and there have been other offers since then.  I am a bit overwhelmed by the vast opportunities training as a nurse at King’s has offered me.  My goal is to get involved in strategic mental health care management in the near future.

Overall, I am very proud that I have been able to achieve my childhood dream of becoming a nurse and what better way of seeing this dream come true than through the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery at King’s College London.

Aluya, PGDip Mental Health Nursing

For more information on Mental Health Nursing, click here.

For more information on PGDip Mental Health Nursing, click here.

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No regrets – leaving Northern Ireland to study in London

I moved to London from Northern Ireland in September 2013 to study mental health nursing at King’s and I haven’t looked back since making that decision.

Naturally, I miss Ireland and my family, but due to cheap flights, we can usually visit every other month (and we talk/text almost every day). As everyone in first year in your halls of residence has left home, your flat mates become your second family.

In first year I lived in Julian Markham House (JMH), a King’s residence and I would really recommend it. I lived with medics and humanity students, and it was a nice change to come home and be able to take a break from talking about nursing all day. JMH is located in the Elephant and Castle district, and is a maximum 20 minute walk from all of the King’s campuses. Due to this, in both second and third year I have chosen to remain in the same area, renting privately owned flats. Finding these flats was fairly straight forward, and was a very quick process which we began in June and was completed within a week. This allows you to leave it until the last minute to decide where to live and who to live with, which in other universities you often need to have arranged by January.

I do think that studying in London has been a brilliant decision for me, not only for the wide range of placements that are available to me as a mental health nursing student, but also on what is available to me in my spare time. I have been able to travel on the Eurostar to Paris, fly to the Netherlands and I’ve also visited a lot of my school friends at other universities in the UK, all quite cheaply because of the plentiful London transport links and the great student/youth travel fares. Being a student in London has many benefits: cheaper cinema tickets, going to concerts and local festivals, many restaurants give student discount, as do a lot of the shops.

Personally, I love the change from Northern Ireland to the fast paced streets of London. However, if you are concerned that it may be a bit too hectic, don’t worry, there are many areas in London which can prove to be a little escape from Central London. Some of the lovely places which I like to visit and can really recommend are Greenwich, Windsor and Hampstead Heath, but there are many more.

I do not regret my decision to study in London, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending it to others.

Sarah, 2nd Year BSc Mental Health Nursing

For more information on Mental Health Nursing, click here.

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Mental Health Nursing Placements

Before I started this degree people would frequently ask what I wanted to specialise in as I embarked on my career in mental healthcare. ‘Mental Health nursing’ was always my answer, smiling smugly as I answered thinking I was being as specific and precise as I ever would be able to. Boy, was I wrong.

My first day on a rehabilitation ward was a shock for me. I expected rehab to be a place of addictions, but here I was on a ward of people suffering from schizophrenia! ‘Rehab exists for people with schizophrenia?’ will go down in history as one of the silliest questions I have ever asked. It was here that I realised how my perception of mental health was incorrect. There were people who could potentially live in the community for the rest of their lives, stable and living with their illness! It was a miracle, I left the ward feeling hopeful. I didn’t know a service or a world like this existed.

I then had the opportunity to be with a deaf adult community mental health team. It was only one of the few scattered around the country, a service that is truly valuable. I had never faced language barriers before. I was confused and felt powerless at my inability to communicate with staff members, students and patients. Frankly, I felt left out. One day I approached my mentor and a deaf member of staff about my feelings. The deaf member of staff said that is how he felt in the outside world, outside of these walls that protect him – everyday. I was too busy caught up in my own emotions to realise that this is the reality many people have to live every single day and I was only living it for five weeks. It was here that I learnt the importance of inclusion and how isolation truly feels.

Next, I was placed with the elderly. Caring for mothers, fathers and grandparents who had done their fair share for the world. Sitting with them and listening to their stories, made me wonder what story I would tell when I was as old and wise as them. For the first time in my life, I was faced with a patient suffering from Dementia. Here was the ‘horrid’ disease I had heard about for so long, but never witnessed. It tore me to pieces, more than I could have ever imagined and this was where I was able to put to practice my skills of compassion to the test. I would spend hours caring for people who would say ‘who are you’ at the end of the day. However, that never stopped me. I won’t deny that it hurt me, but I knew that they needed me and that their need for me to care for them was much more important that my need for them to remember what I did for them.

Thrown into the dynamic environment of a home treatment team I found my perfect setting. I loved every moment of assessing patients, providing care for patients in a crisis and preventing individuals from admission into hospital. It was here that I felt my skills were most applicable. I have always loved being able to think on my feet, I have always been a person who deals with unexpected situations well and solves them quickly. This was the environment I felt was most suited to me and I loved every single minute. I didn’t want to leave. My heart melted, as I realised I was slowly becoming the nurse I knew I could be and had always wanted to be. The one I had always aimed to be.

So I have six more placements to do and I can’t tell you how excited I am. If you asked me what area I wanted to specialise in right now, I couldn’t tell you, but come back to me in a year and a half and I might just know.

Deborah, 2nd Year BSc Mental Health Nursing

For more information on Mental Health Nursing, click here.

To read Deborah’s “Five things I wish I’d known before starting my degree”, click here.

Life in London

When I started at King’s College London at the age of eighteen, I moved from a small town in Sussex to London, the capital city. I spent the first year of my degree living in university accommodation at Great Dover Street Apartments – a huge building of over 700 students!

I shared a flat with six other students, all of different backgrounds and all studying various courses. Living in halls was genuinely the best year of my life; even if I did miss out on some of the socialising and partying university brings due to working shifts at the hospital as a student midwife, I still had a fantastic year. Situated a ten minute walk from London Bridge, we were so close to everything we needed whether that was Guy’s campus, the library, the tube, loads of shops and (importantly) lots of places to meet up with friends.

At King’s there are hundreds of organisations, societies and sports clubs to choose from if you want to get involved in student life. I joined KCL Lions, the universities competitive cheerleading squad. I have been lucky enough to compete with them at a national level for three years now! The squad have become my second family and I even live with some of my team mates now I am in my third year – I highly recommend joining a sports club or a society, it was the truly the best decision I made!

Training in the capital city has meant I have had a one of a kind experience. You never run out of things to do or places to explore – there is always something exciting to see. The hospital placements are literally world class, and both the academic staff and mentors at hospitals are hugely supportive. I know I may be biased, but accepting my offer to King’s College London was the best decision of my life so far and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Hayley, 3rd Year, Midwifery Student

For more information on Midwifery, click here.

To read more about Hayley’s experiences:

Day in the Life of a Student Midwife             The Best Part of my Degree

 

Managing your money

Managing money on a student budget can be tricky, find out what help is available to you if you are thinking of coming to King’s

Who are Student Advice and how can they help me?

The Student Advice Service provides information, advice and guidance to both prospective and current students at King’s College London. The team is made up of Specialist Advisors who can advise you on a range of issues including money, housing, immigration and welfare.

I am a Student Money Advisor and I can help with your questions regarding money matters such as funding, budgeting and how to best manage your money whilst at university.

How can you access this advice and support?

You can come along to one of our Drop-ins and speak to an Advisor, no appointment needed! These are weekly & across all campuses. Take a look at our Drop-in schedule: click here.

Alternatively, you can complete an Online Enquiry Form: click here.

A member of the Advice team will then assist you with your enquiry based on your preferences. We offer appointments face to face, over the phone and even via Skype!

If you have a money related enquiry you can email money@kcl.ac.uk and I will be happy to answer any money questions you might have.

What advice resources are available?

We have information on our web pages, click here, and a number of advice guides that can be downloaded. These vary from advice on banking, Council Tax and even how to do your laundry!

We also share relevant articles, information and money saving tips on our Facebook page and Twitter account. Like and follow us now!

Our dedicated Money Mentors are a team of students that have been trained to help give you support with any money worries you might have whilst you are here. They will be out and about on our money campaigns throughout the year. Money Mentors and Nursing students Sharron and Samantha will tell us what it’s like to assist their fellow students with their money saving knowledge…blog post coming soon!

What is the most important piece of advice you can give?

I always say that budgeting is essential! A budget allows you to have some control over what you spend, plan for the future, keep a check on your income and outgoings and save a few pennies every month. Does maths make your head hurt? No fear, we have a number of resources that are here to help you with your budgeting. Start by watching the short video ‘How to make a budget’: click here.

King’s have partnered up with blackbullion.com to give students access to essential online budgeting tools and financial tutorials. Use your King’s email address to register for free now!

Take a look at The Money Charity’s ‘Student Moneymanual’ which is an excellent resource packed full of money facts and information – definitely worth a read over a cup of tea: click here.

I also find that some Nursing students are not aware that if they are living in a King’s residency, then they can request to pay their accommodation fees monthly rather than termly. If you would like to explore this as an option, contact the Credit Control department directly: click here.

It also worth looking at the Funding pages of the King’s website as there are Nursing specific Hardship Funds like the Perseverance Trust Hardship Bursary 2015 for those struggling with living costs whilst on course.

 King’s College London – Fees and Funding

Perseverance Trust Hardship Bursary

And finally, I am a big fan of car boot sales. They are brilliant for finding bargains such as ornaments for your room, but also great for useful things like kitchen equipment and stationary: TimeOut Car Boot Sales List.

Rachel Glover, Student Advice

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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.

Five things I wish I’d known before starting my degree

….(and some tips for you)

1. Make time for the academic side
I write this as I sit over a pile literature I need to start devouring for two different essays. You need to learn about so many different aspects of healthcare, policy and science. The degree requires you to know so much and to be able to apply your knowledge well. Your understanding will constantly be tested by your lecturers, placement mentors, peers and even yourself.

2. Placement is much more hands on that I ever thought
You are expected to get involved in much more than just observing. The line between a qualified nurse and a student nurse is not as thick as you probably imagined. However, at the same time, remember the importance of observation and never do anything unless you have been shown how to do it.

3. You need to be able to manage your time well!
Like really. You’ll be juggling placements, university, working and trying to maintain a social life. It’s hard but good time management is key! I am able to work, go to placement, do my essays, prepare for exams and still make time for my friends. It’s all about planning in advance and being realistic about what you can and can’t do and the time space that you can do it in.

4. Living in London is quite expensive
It’s easy to underestimate the costs of living in London – but don’t make that mistake. It’s expensive but oh so worth it! You learn to shop at the cheapest places, make the most out of what you have, walk as much as possible and get an 18+ student oyster card to get 30% off! Manage your money well and, if all fails, your overdraft may just become your best friend.

5. Becoming a nurse will be the best thing you’ll ever do!
I wish somebody had warned me how much I would love this – but I’m glad I got to experience this myself. It has been a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t too sure how much I would love being a student nurse but it is the best thing I have ever done in my life. Being able to care and look after people and change lives daily is so much more amazing than I could have ever imagined.

Deborah, 2nd Year BSc Mental Health Nursing

For more information on Mental Health Nursing, click here.

Books

My desk with all my current academic books!