So you’re a first year student nurse!


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!


T x

Its official!


I can now officially call myself a student nurse! I am in the March 2017 cohort so my academic year runs from March – February and I will hopefully qualify in March 2020. Here is a recap of my first week as a student nurse.

Monday – I won’t lie, Monday morning I was terrified. I’m not the best at meeting new people, I’m quite shy until you know me so I can come across as quiet. I probably have the same worries everyone else had: will people like me, will I make a fool of myself, can I even do this 😬 It’s handy that I’m starting with three friends but it has been a slight disadvantage too, as it meant I didn’t have to force myself to talk to other people because I already had someone to talk to. We did chat to a few ladies outside and we did an ice breaker where we had to speak to others that we didn’t know.

Tuesday – We spent the Tuesday morning session meeting some more lecturers and other people who work around the university. Four students from year 2 and year 3 came in for a quick chat so we were able to ask them questions about the course and placement, which was very helpful and allowed us to get a better perspective of the three years ahead. We attended the freshers fair in the afternoon, there were representatives from RCN and Unison amongst others. I would recommend attending yours as there are a few freebies to get your hands on. It’s a great way to ask questions and find lots of things out about the different organisations you can join too.

Wednesday – The morning consisted of a meeting with Occupational Health who explained the vaccination procedures and when we would be having these. In the afternoon, we enrolled! This is a very important part of the first week as this confirms you have attended the course so any bursary/student loan can be processed and paid 😊 This usually takes around 10 working days from university confirmation so try to save a little money before starting to get you through the first 2/3 weeks.

Thursday – Uniform fitting 😁 It still didn’t really feel real for me until I was trying the uniform on and I looked in the mirror. ‘Blimey, you’re actually here! You are actually going to be a student nurse’

Everyone that I have chatted to this week seems lovely and I think we are going to be a great cohort full of success stories! The actual fun starts next week when lectures begin, I am excited to start learning and revising for tests (Yes I know I’m a little bit strange 😂)

Let me know how your first weeks have been.

T x




Welcome to my first blog post! I want to try and use this blog to capture my thoughts and feelings throughout my three years at university. I am so excited for the next three years but it is also the scariest thing I have ever decided to undertake.

So……a little bit about me. I am Toni and come from a little town in South Yorkshire called Doncaster. I am currently in the final weeks of an access course to enable me to gain the UCAS points needed for university applications. I applied to Derby university in June 2016 and was lucky enough to be offered a place at their Chesterfield campus, starting in March 2017. This is the last cohort able to use the NHS bursary before they are stopped in August 2017. I have three friends who applied with me and will be starting the same course at Chesterfield so we will all have a great support network already in place for when things get tough 😊



I have around 6 years care experience which is broken into:

  • 8 months domiciliary care – supporting people in their own homes with meals, medication, shopping and personal care
  • 2.5 years in a residential care home – supporting people in the first stages of dementia with their everyday living, I was also promoted to senior carer here so had to deal with medication rounds including controlled drugs
  • 2 years in a nursing home – caring for people within the final stages of dementia, a lot were aggressive and I dealt with a lot of challenging behaviour. I was promoted to supervisor here as well, there was minimal medication work due to the presence of nurses but the role was to assist the nurse with the running of the shift and to delegate jobs to other staff members. I also experienced palliative care and developed an interest in how to make an individuals final days as comfortable and peaceful as possible
  • 1 year supporting people with learning disabilities – I assist with everyday tasks and help to to socialise with friends. This was something completely alien to me as I had no prior experience with young people and learning difficulties, and whilst I do not find it as challenging as dementia care, I thoroughly enjoy every day and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like a job!

I feel that I would like to specialise in cancer palliative care in my future career but this may change once I have completed a few placements, I could find an area that I feel I would be more suited to.

Thank you for joining me here and I hope you enjoy my journey as much as I am hoping to!



T x