This week’s professional is Jacob Rosamund. Jacob graduated from the BNurs in Adult Nursing in 2017 and has since gone on to work in an acute oncology ward, work as a tissue viability nurse (TVN), and become a sign-off mentor for other student nurses. Have a read of what aspects of the course he found most useful, how they’ve factored into his current role, as well as some top tips for other students looking to study nursing…
I really enjoyed the science behind the course: the things I’ve taken into nursing most is the pathology, microbiology and pharmacology; I also liked the ANP (advanced nurse practitioner) side of things too and getting familiar with enquiry-based learning, which was a really helpful way of working through problems.
Obviously, the clinical side of things is the reason you want to be a nurse in the first place but I really enjoyed the academic side of being at university. For instance, one of the biggest things I took away was presentation skills, both written and verbal, as not only do you do a lot of that during the course but it also pops up in your work too.
One of the most valuable aspects of the course was the clinical skills sessions that were carried out in the University’s simulation suites. In terms of clinical skills, you learn everything on placement but these were really helpful in preparing for practice; moving forward, there is due to be a lot more of these sessions as past students have found them invaluable.
I currently work in medical oncology at The Christie on a ward that deals with high-risk, end of life, palliative chemotherapy. You deal with a range of cases in these wards: some curative, some palliative and some that need constant monitoring, but you’re also given a lot of autonomy alongside the responsibility of taking care of these patients.
Although The Christie is a specialist cancer facility, every patient is different and all at a different stage in their particular disease: they might be experiencing their first treatment or they could be right at the other end of the spectrum, and that’s what I love about medical oncology – you get a breadth of experience and (as cliché as it might sound) no two days are the same. It keeps you on your toes.
I have recently completed the student mentorship programme, which means I can now sign off other nurses onwards and the biggest thing I look for in is “has that person been taking the initiative?”, “have they been asking for jobs and have they been keeping busy?”. There have been so many times when I felt like I’ve had to drag a student along, whereas I think that as a nurse, you should always be on the move as there is always work to be done – especially as a student.
The next step for me is to work with Macmillan and obviously bring my experience at The Christie into doing palliative supportive care nursing with them, which I can hopefully start either this year/early next year. Fortunately, the University is really good at helping you keep one eye on the future and making sure you’re employed by the time you finish—I actually secured my first job a year before I graduated—so I’ve had this path in mind for a while.
The biggest piece of advice I could give is that you get out what you put in and although the course is intense, don’t put too much unnecessary pressure on yourself. Obviously, get involved with the clinical side as much as you can but don’t expect to grasp everything from minute one, or even by the time you have graduated; no employer wants a ‘fully-formed’ nurse—it’s impossible to become one in three years anyway—just be enthusiastic, willing to learn and proactive.
At the end of the day, we will always need nurses and even if you don’t jump right into the specialism you really want, it’s a case of walking before you can run and getting a good base of knowledge and experience down first, which will ultimately help your career prospects in the long run.