January 28, 2014, by Guest blogger

Making a difference through Nursing

Helena Bernard explains how a career in Nursing combines her love of science and her desire to make a difference.

Nursing is not a glamorous profession, nor is it well paid considering the long hours and hard work required. Yet, I chose to study nursing because I had the desire to apply my most loved subject – human biology – in the most practical way.

I applied to study at The University of Nottingham because, on top of a fairly unique course in which I was able to gain an integrated masters in nursing as well as my nursing registration within four years, there was also the opportunity for an overseas elective placement, academic study at a world class university and the promise of a top quality campus life.

I don’t believe you have to have your complete future mapped out or understand exactly why you are drawn to a particular career or profession before studying at university. You should take the step to study what you feel passionate about. It has taken four years of study and two years of work to understand truly why I was drawn to nursing above the other healthcare professions. I had very little understanding of hospitals, medicine and ill health before arriving at university, but I believed I could have a positive influence during the difficult and uncertain experiences of those entering through our hospital doors. Also, I know it sounds cliché, but I wanted to use the knowledge and understanding I had gained in my study of biology throughout my education to make a tangible difference to people’s lives. Nursing seemed the obvious way to go.

Training to become a nurse was challenging. At the beginning of each academic year I would question whether I was cut out for the next level of study, anxious to do well but doubting whether I could cope with the increasing pressure of academic assignments, exams and dissertation work, and also the growing responsibility on clinical placements (in which we spent 50% of our term time). But we were well supported by the academic staff who took a great interest in our learning and clinical development.

I chose a subject that I loved, and I attribute my success to that fact. Because of my interest in nursing and all things clinical, I continued to study, learn and publish work after I graduated. This work earned me a promotion after just 10 months of practicing as a nurse. I am now heading for a specialised, challenging and satisfying future in a career that I love. I have had more opportunities throughout studying and since graduating then I could have hoped for. Again, I think that’s because I say “yes” to requests when they come my way, even if I don’t feel particularly equipped for that task at the time. I give myself time to train, learn and develop because I am enthusiastic about my work.

Do not underestimate the impact your university life and the opportunities during your time of study can have on your future career. University is not a means to an end. My advice is to make the most of it and exploit the opportunities wisely!

Read more from other students, academics and employers on the Study What You Love pages.

Posted in UoN alumni