Becoming a leader in nursing with the help of UoM

The MSc in Advanced Leadership in Professional Practice (Nursing) at The University of Manchester gives registered nurses the knowledge and skills they need to enhance their practice and prepare for leadership roles. Gading Aurizki is a Nursing graduate from Indonesia who moved away from his home and family for a year in a bid to further his career on this programme. Below, find out what he has to say about the course and how it has helped his career now he’s back home…

What drew me into this course

I have been interested in leadership since I was in high school and growing up I took some leadership roles in various organisations. During my final year as an undergraduate nursing student, I was elected as the university student union’s vice president. These leadership roles also brought me to China and the United States as a student fellow. So, when I decided to pursue a master degree, I knew that “leadership” had to be part of it. When I realised that The University of Manchester offered an MSc in Advanced Nursing Practice and Leadership course (former name of ALPP), I had no hesitation in putting it in my very top list. I felt that this course was destined for me.

What I was doing before enrolling

After graduating from nursing in 2016 I enjoyed a three year career in the field before starting this master’s programme. I spent two and a half years working as a full-time research staff in the Faculty of Nursing, Universitas Airlangga, which was the same university where I initially studied. In that position, I undertook some research-related administrations, such as managing a nursing journal published by my faculty and organising nursing conferences.

The most exciting part of this job was when I got a chance to take part in a real research project. In 2019, my team and I went to Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara, to study older people’s mental health conditions in the post-earthquake region. We also delivered the trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapy (TF-CBT) and studied its effectiveness towards depression and quality of life.

How the course went

The course was very intense, especially the assignments. I didn’t have face-to-face classes too often (one or two per week), but the assignments were very demanding. I had to devote an immense amount of time and energy to make sure I submitted every assignment on time, and to achieve the highest standards possible. Time management was important and the online classes forced me to be more disciplined in this regard.

The lecturers on the course were brilliant and usually utilised innovative methods (e.g., sticky notes, group discussion, etc) to involve students. My favourite module was the Advanced Evidence-Based Practice and Leadership (AEBP) one in the first semester. I loved all the materials provided, the journal club, and even the three patchworks in critical appraisal assignments. From this module, I learned a lot about research methodology and how evidence should not be taken for granted. We have to assess it critically before we use it in our practice.

I also faced a lot of challenges during my time on the course. The biggest challenge was the fact that I had to live far away from my family, especially my lovely wife. Having a long-distance marriage is very tough emotionally, especially towards the end of the programme when my wife lost her father because of an illness. Arguably this was the most challenging moment in my life. Fortunately, I have a very supportive wife and allowed me to finish my study first before returning home.

Differences between UG and PGT

I think the main difference was in relation to the level of independence; you have to be more independent while doing a postgraduate degree. In undergraduate study, the lecturers gave all you need to succeed academically, and you simply have to follow them. At postgraduate level, the lecturers still provide you with useful classes or course materials, but it is just basic guidance on what you have to learn and the rest depends on yourself. Reading list or course materials are the starting point, but a lot of literature and evidence scattered in the journals, books, and internet are hidden gems waiting to be found. Driven by curiosity, exploring these learning materials on your own may help you achieve academic success.

What the future holds

After returning home to Indonesia, I have got involved in more research projects. My roles are analysing the research findings and writing manuscripts for journals. I’m planning on returning to my university, Universitas Airlangga, to pursue a career as a researcher and lecturer. I have submitted the job application, and now been waiting for approval from the university management. However, because of the pandemic, the process isn’t going as quick as I expected.

Another exciting thing on the agenda is the fact that my research team and I have established a startup called “Nurse Labour Market”, which connects nursing job seekers with the employers, and I was appointed as the chief executive officer (CEO). It is our first time running a startup, so we’re in the process of developing the organisation. What I learnt from the ALPP programme is very useful for this project. Finally, which is the most important plan, I am currently preparing applications for PhD degree.

My advice to prospective students

“If you can’t stand the fatigue of study, you will feel the poignant of stupidity” ~ Imam Shafi’i

This quote is my all-time favourite and I put it on a wall in front of my working desk in Manchester. When I was about to give up on everything, I read it to boost my spirit. It will be great advice for everyone who wants to pursue a master or PhD degree.

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