Studying Children’s and Young People’s Nursing at Salford - Esther's Story

Why did you choose to study at Salford?

I had moved to Manchester a few years earlier before I knew I wanted to study nursing and was keen to stay local. Whilst other universities focused on the A Levels I had taken years ago, Salford seemed to really value my experiences of working in healthcare.

What made you want to study Nursing?

I'd been working in healthcare for a couple of years and wanted more opportunities to learn, develop new skills and take on new challenges in my career. I'd worked with people in a range of roles, but I think what really appealed about nursing was the variety. It involves both technical clinical skills but also skills in communication, advocacy, and supporting people through highly emotive situations. I knew a career in nursing would continue to offer me new challenges and opportunities and that really excites me. Children's nursing in particular involves a lot of creative and flexible thinking which I really enjoy. 

What has your experience on the course been like so far?

It's definitely been challenging. There's a lot to juggle on a nursing course, between lectures and seminars, clinical skills, independent study, placement, reflections, and assignments. But the variety is also what makes it interesting and there have been things I've enjoyed that I really wasn't expecting to. I think if you can get through a nursing course during a pandemic and still be genuinely excited to start your career it's a sign something's gone right. 

What do you enjoy most about the course?

Being out on placement. This is where I really get to put what I've learned at uni into practice. I've worked alongside some really fantastic nurses who have taken time to show me how they work, and why they do things a certain way. I also learn so much from the patients and their families about their experience of healthcare and what they need from us. It's hard work, and I often come home from a long day exhausted but it also reminds me of why I'm studying to be a children's nurse. I also really enjoy clinical skills sessions, which really help me to link the theory to the skills. The skills team are fantastic at getting us to problem solve, and really understand the rationale behind different clinical interventions. Plus, it's always great to be able to practice skills in such a low-pressure environment.

What placements have you experienced so far and how have you found it?

I've had a neurology/neurosurgery ward, health visiting & school nursing, outpatients, a general paediatric ward, an oncology & haematology ward, and am just about to start with a community nursing team. I've also made the most of every opportunity for 'spoke' placements (shifts in a different area) to get a range of experiences, such as A&E, burns and plastics aftercare clinic, elective surgical ward, bone marrow transplant unit... my placements have been by far the highlight of the course. Not all have them have been places where I want to work in the future, but they've all shown me a different side of nursing and I've learnt a lot from everywhere I've gone. 

What is the support like at Salford?

I've been taught by some really passionate, supportive lecturers who clearly want us to get the most that we can from the course. I'm in my third year now so there's a big focus on preparing us to qualify as nurses, with sessions on things like applying for jobs in the NHS, mock job interviews, developing clinical decision-making skills and presentation skills. The librarians are also a fantastic source of support for assignments, and you can book onto workshops for things like referencing and writing style, or book a 1:1 session.

Do you have any tips for students looking to study Nursing?

Have a think about the different fields of practice - children and young people's nursing, mental health nursing, learning disability nursing and adult nursing. Think about what you're most passionate about, what interests you, and what your strengths are. There are overlaps between the different fields but commonly encountered conditions, legislation, specific challenges and approaches will vary depending on the context. 

What would you say to someone who is thinking of studying this course at Salford?

 It honestly didn't even cross my mind to consider a career in nursing when I left school, but working with children and young people in health and social care gradually steered me in that direction and I'm really pleased that it did. If you're wondering whether or not nursing is for you, I'd definitely recommend getting some experience of healthcare, whether that's paid or voluntary work. You could look for work as a healthcare assistant or carer, volunteer with a support group or for a helpline, or volunteer directly with a hospital. Any experiences that give you more of an understanding of the roles of nurses or the experiences of patients will be really valuable.