Placements

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.

 

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.