As it’s September and there are so many new student nurses (and midwives) starting their time at university, here are my tips for first year 😊
- It’s normal to be nervous on your first day, even for the first few weeks. You are meeting new people and learning new things. Over the first few weeks this feeling will pass and you will start to feel more confident as the weeks go by.
- Get yourself a diary, it doesn’t have to be an all-singing all-dancing one as long as it has spaces to write things in every day. A week to view diary will provide enough space to keep track of your timetable and your assignment deadlines.
- Speaking of the dreaded ‘A’ word, they are really not as bad as you will no doubt be imagining! Begin to plan as soon as you receive them, even if you spend a few weeks gathering sources to use as your evidence. Speak to your tutors for any guidance, that is what they are there for and they are more than happy to help.
- Get to grips with the referencing style your university uses. Cite Them Right is a fantastic book that I would recommend getting, there is also a website. Do your citations and referencing as you go through your assignment, do not leave it until after as you will spend hours trying to find where you have taken your information from.
- Learn what credible sources are and where to find these. Websites are fine to use as long as they are credible (NICE, RCN, NMC etc). Textbooks and medical journals are great sources of information as well.
- Email assignments to yourself regularly. This protects you in case your computer crashes or the file is lost.
- Don’t worry if you do not make ‘best friends’ straight away, it takes time to get to know people and you will make friends. There will be plenty of group work for you to get to know people you may not have spoken to.
- As soon as you find out who your personal tutor is, email them to introduce yourself and tell them a few pieces of information about yourself. It really helps to build a rapport and to start a good relationship.
- Speak to other student nurses on Facebook or twitter, social media can give you a fantastic support network of people who know exactly what you are feeling and can offer some brilliant advice.
- When you receive your placement allocation, pop up and introduce yourself. It helps to relieve those first day nerves a little if you already know where the placement is, what the parking is like and having introduced yourself to a few staff members.
- Try to stay organised, you may have work to complete whilst on placement so try to plan time each week for you to spend on your assignments.
- Start revision for exams early, make flash cards or notes to help you. There are plenty of revision tips online you just need to find the method that works for you.
- Organise your notes so that when it comes to writing assignments they are all in one place and you are not stressing trying to search through notepads for notes you made. I have a notebook for each different module and this helps me to keep all my information for the module together.
- Use your diary or a calendar to map out your time, marking out theory weeks and placement weeks. This will help to keep you organised and you will know how your first year is planned out.
- Buy a comfortable pair of shoes ready for placement- I have clarks unloops and they are like slippers. I have finished 14 hour shifts at work and my feet still feel fresh! They are cheaper on amazon than they are in clarks shops if they stock your size. Some people also recommend Sketchers but check your local trust policy as some may not allow sketchers style shoes.
- Enjoy it as the time goes by so fast! Before you know it you will be a second year student nurse!
- Last but not least, take time for yourself! Enjoy a social life and spend time with your friends, try not to feel guilty about not doing university work all the time. You are a student nurse but you have a life outside of university as well 😊
I hope you all find these tips useful, please let me know how your first few weeks are going!