Mental Health Nursing with Claire

Mature Mental Health Nursing student, Claire Lynott, explains why the allure of practical placements drew her to studying at Edinburgh Napier 

Tell us a bit about yourselfMental Health Nursing student, Claire Lynott

My name is Claire Lynott and I'm in my 3rd year of studying Mental Health Nursing at Edinburgh Napier

What made you decide to study nursing?

I started off as a health care assistant over 15 years ago. I initially completed my Higher National Certificate (HNC) alongside my health care support worker role, where my time was spent equally between learning theory and working in the ward.  I then went into second year of the BSc Mental Health Nursing, however I did not complete my final year. I moved back home and worked in various roles within Health and Social care for years, but my biggest regret was not completing my nursing degree as I always admired the work nurses do. My heart remained with nursing and so in 2018 I returned to Edinburgh Napier as a mature student to finally become a registered nurse.

What attracted you to Edinburgh Napier?

I liked the fact you got a choice for your final year placement, as well as the location for Lothian placements. 

What have been the highlights of your course so far?

I have enjoyed the placements most so far and my favourite area has been in the community mental health team. I felt this was a great opportunity to get a feel for what it would be like working in the team, but still with all of the support you get as a student.

My favourite module at university has been ‘Effective Nursing Skills for Practice’ which included the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and pharmacology. I felt this really helped build my knowledge and confidence for preparation for my final year. 

Did you do any additional qualifications before joining? 

I felt all my prior learning has helped me on the course, as has my previous work experience. My work experience has mostly helped me within my placement areas. 

I would say the most useful course I did before coming into nursing at Napier, was my COSCA Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland course, which I did through Edinburgh College before applying to Mental Health Nursing at Napier. I applied for this course mainly to improve my confidence and interpersonal and communication skills. This course was my driver to return to nursing. The COSCA course helped me to develop a better understanding of the qualities of listening and responding effectively and helped improve my skills in relationship building and self-awareness, which are vital skills to have as a nurse.

How have you found managing family life with study and shift work?

I had a toddler when I started the course, and had a baby during, which meant I had to take a year out. My determination to return and succeed kept me motivated despite the challenges at times.  

Do you have any advice for other mature students considering a career change into nursing?

Perhaps doing a short course before applying for university, as it helps you understand the motivation you need to manage your studies. This is an intense course and takes a lot of determination to get there. I think the most important advice for mature students is not to be put off by the academic aspects of returning to study, as that is what university is for, to build upon and shape your academic side. Mature students often bring different experiences from previous jobs as well as life experience, which is certainly is a strength, especially within clinical placements. I have worked with some amazing health care support workers in my time and always feel people are put of by the academic side, which is a real shame, if I can do it, anyone can. 

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