Child Health Nursing student Chelsea Oliphant explains how her worldview has evolved through her studies.
What prompted you to consider Nursing?
I actually met one of the lecturers from Edinburgh Napier at my old job. We got chatting and she asked me if I’d ever thought about Nursing.
She explained what she did and said she thought I would be good at it, given that I was already working with kids. We exchanged contact details, I came into the University, and she talked me through the full three year program and convinced me to apply.
I didn’t have very good maths and science grades from school and had talked myself out of applying to anything like this before. I thought I wouldn’t get in – but I did!
Why did you choose Child Health Nursing in particular?
I have always wanted to work with children, ever since I was about 18 or 19. I just wasn’t sure in what capacity because I didn’t want to be a teacher.
When I found out you could study Child Health Nursing straight away, without having to do another degree first, it was like a lightbulb moment. Like, oh that’s it, that’s the job for me.
Did anything else factor in to choosing Edinburgh Napier?
It was a few different things. The staff here had talked me through the program and the mixture of modules and placements that were available sounded really good.
Plus, I love Edinburgh as a city and I was already living and working here at the time. A lot of my friends studied in Edinburgh when we first left high school and it was just something I felt like I missed out on.
I just think it’s a fantastic place so the opportunity to be a student here was really exciting.
What was it like to start a degree as a mature student?
It was a bit daunting at first. It had been about four or five years since I had last been in education so I was a bit worried. What if I don’t remember how to write an essay? Or can’t use the library? What if everything’s changed now?
But the staff were really supportive and organised in getting everyone settled in. One of the really nice things about Nursing is that it has such a varied age range, so there were a lot of other mature students as well as people straight from school.
Did you have any preconceptions about Nursing that have changed?
Yeah, loads of things have changed! I think before I started I had a really stereotypical view of what Nursing would be like. You picture a nurse on a ward with arms full of bandages - I had that image in my head.
I think what’s changed the most is seeing how varied the role of the nurse is. Because of the placements I’ve been on, I’ve gotten to see medical wards, surgical wards, general wards, I’ve been out with the community nurses and I can’t believe how varied the roles are and what nurses do every single day.
It’s really exciting to know that, when I finish, all those doors will be open to me to progress in whatever way I decide.
What has been the biggest highlight?
For me, there’s been lots of little highlights. I don’t have one big stand out moment.
I always find it really exciting when you’re in uniform, you’re on the ward and you’re actually doing it. Every time you’re on placement and you learn a new clinical skill, or you’re trusted to do something by yourself for the first time, that’s a nice moment.
Because we work with children and their families so closely, you go on a bit of a journey with them as well. At the end of the day, when you’re reflecting on that and the input you’ve had on their lives, it’s really nice to think about.
There’s so many little highlights of kids who make you little drawings and stuff as well, and say thank you and bring you chocolates and it’s always just really cute.
Have you faced any particular challenges?
I think the course in its nature is challenging. It’s physically challenging, it’s mentally challenging, it’s emotionally challenging. You have to be really good at juggling your daily life.
I’ve found it challenges your own personal and professional values. You’re seeing people from all different walks of life and all ages, all different types of families. It really makes you think about what the world’s like and what your position in it is.
It challenges your views. The way I think about the world and people and their stories is really different to just a few years ago. I think it’s really widened my perspective.
Who would you recommend Nursing as a career path to?
I think Nursing is suitable for people who have a caring nature, who are compassionate, who are looking for a job that keeps you on your toes and busy. If you want to be challenged and you never want to have the same day twice.