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Ten things to do before starting as a student nurse


Faculty: Health, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing
Category: Nursing and midwifery

6 May 2014

Are you getting ready study nursing at university? ARU nursing student Jade recommends ten things you can do to prepare.

1. Get familiar with anatomy and physiology

Whether you buy a book and start studying, or just familiarise yourself with the human body in general, trust me when I say that it will serve you well for starting your course. You have exams on bioscience and it’s very in-depth; anything you do in preparation will help.

2. Brush up on your maths skills

Not only will this help you regarding the numeracy test you have to take on your nursing interview day, but you also need to pass a drugs calculations test every year. Maths is so important especially when thinking about medication. Concentrate on your basic arithmetic, fractions, decimals, percentages, volume, time calculation and conversions.

3. Keep abreast of topical healthcare news

Being aware of what’s going on in the NHS is important especially as it’s relevant to your education and future career.

4. Have a glance at major nursing reports

The Francis and Keogh reports are both significant publications. I know it’s not the most fun to read – there’s a lot of text there! There are summaries and these documents are going to play key parts in your training, especially when thinking about essays and assignments.

5. Get involved in social media for nurses

Twitter is a great platform for student nurses and they all keep in contact, support each other, share blog posts, talk about important healthcare-based TV shows, news reports, etc. It will really give you a flavour of what life is like as a student.

6. Join something nursing-based like Student Nursing Times or Nursing Standard

These websites have a lot to look at, from current news articles and important information, to specific posts about students’ problems and learning sections. They host weekly chats on Twitter about a given topic for people to join in and give you a chance to connect with each other.

7. Try and get a little bit of experience

Loads of places give you opportunities to do a bit of volunteering and other things, and it will really help you start to get into the mind-set of what you’re setting out on. This leads to…

8. Make sure you know what you’re getting into!

So many people just aren’t prepared for the sheer amount of effort, hard work, determination and sacrifice this is. Yes, you need to turn up on time; yes, you need to act professionally; no, you cannot just turn up to lectures as and when you feel like it; yes, you will have to make beds, clean up incontinent patients etc. From day one you are a nurse and must conduct yourself accordingly.

9. Make contact with a couple of people at your interview days

If you both get accepted to study nursing and keep in contact in the run-up, walking in there knowing at least one person will make the whole experience less daunting. Put yourself out there at your interview day to say hi and smile at as many people as possible – you are going to be working with them for the next three years of your life. In my experience Adult Nursing is a very supportive course, not a competition, and you can all help each other and become better as a whole from it.

10. Most importantly, get excited!

You are about the start the first day of the rest of your life. From this point onward you will be learning about your passion and how to make a difference to people’s lives in their most vulnerable times. It's a privilege, and one you should never underestimate!

Jade studies Adult Nursing at ARU in Chelmsford. Find out more about our nursing and healthcare courses at an Open Day.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.