Becoming an Adult Nurse

University Sport and social life


*Note: Dissertation, assignments and placements have taken over my life, sorry for my lack of blogging people*

My advice for any fresher or in fact any student…. join a sports team!

I remember one of the first things I did after settling into London as a fresher was to go to the ‘Freshers fair’. My mission was to sign up to the netball team. Now three years later I’m still a part of that amazing team and I was even captain during my second year!  This blog post is about how amazing netball at City is, but mainly about how joining a sports team in my first year of uni brought me some of the best friends I could ask for and how Wednesdays became my most sociable and enjoyable day of the week!

Let’s start with the question everyone asks themselves before doing something, ‘am I good enough?’ My answer to you is, yes you are, and you don’t know until you try!

My position: I play attacking positions, usually GS/GA, or more recently WA. I have always played netball, from a young age at primary school and secondary school, and have a love for the sport. What was different about coming into University leagues was the intensity of the game! The competitiveness, speed and the strategical play just excited me to another level! Doing a nursing degree and playing netball can be hard sometimes because of timetabling issues but that should never put you off! I find it’s the thing I look forward to most. Sometimes doing nursing can make you feel segregated from university life but, being a part of a team reminds you that you are still a student and can have fun with friends and just release all the stress that has built up from your course.

We train on Tuesdays nights and play matches on Wednesdays (AKA BUCS Wednesdays), followed by sports night in the SU, where being the healthy athletes we are, we celebrate (or commiserate) our match outcomes with a tequila or two….

Training: We all train hard as a team and have a fantastic coach / therapist (because we all get crazy sometimes) Claire (AKA Shappers) who plays in a women’s league herself so inspires us to be the best we can be. The session will usually consist of a warm up, doing fitness training, then drills, usually focusing on a particular area of play for example defence, footwork etc. then we will do match play. Claire will always try to focus on ways to improve our game from the last match and better our game play for the next matches. Training is so much fun, we get to all catch up as a team, sweat and most importantly practice together. We play well because we train together, we know how each other moves and thinks and that’s what gives us an advantage. Although Claire would argue we can sometimes make the simplest drills look complicated… ha I guess we are all just special like that!

Matches: Wednesday is the best day of the working week because it’s match day! Every uni across the country takes part in BUCS Wednesday’s, whatever the sport it is will be usually played on this day! There is no better feeling than putting on your team colours to represent your university on a match day! The excited nerves, the anticipation of what the opposing team will be like or how you will play, the first whistle of the match! This is what makes sport great, the euphoria and endorphins make you feel so good! There is also another league we have entered this year called LUSL, meaning that more girls are able to play matches. As matches are on Saturdays or Mondays, people who are on placement can take part in games if they’re not free on Wednesdays. Winning is amazing but even if we lose we have all worked together as a team and tried our best and we will work at winning the next match! And there is always the SU to look forward to….

Sports night:

No matter if we have won or lost, the matches are over and we all congregate as mixed sports teams for an evening of responsible drinking *cough*, ‘beer ponging’ and social mingling. Everyone lets their hair down and has a great time and that’s part of what being a student is about! I have spent many fun nights in the SU and meeting fellow sports players is such a great way to make friends and for me I even met my boyfriend this way back in first year as he played in the football team! SU nights are to be enjoyed – they’re cheap, cheerful and a great social! 

CitySport: City has invested a huge amount of money and effort in creating a new sports facility for us to train and play in. We can now call CitySport our home turf and be proud of its facilities! Being a part of a sports team lets you have the best access to the gym, gym classes and getting team clothing (obviously what we all want for Sunday afternoons). The sports officers are so passionate about maximising sport at the university, they put on fantastic events including our sports awards, this year to be hosted at the Emirates stadium and our FIRST ever Varsity event against Kingston! I’m super proud to be part of City’s sports revolution and to have played an active part in it!

me and my co captain

The girls: I can’t use enough words to describe how much I adore each of the girls. I win, lose, sweat, laugh, dance and occasionally cry with these girls …. They will be some of the best friends I will make and will last for life. We are all passionate about playing netball and we all want to see each other be the best we can be. I’m not the best player on the team but the girls I play with give me the confidence to play to my best ability and believe in myself. Team mates are the best friends you can make at university.

How has being involved in sport helped me in my degree as a nurse? Being involved in netball has shown me the true importance of team work and friendship. You work better in a positive environment and that ethos is what we as a team try to convey to each other every match. Team work in nursing is crucial too, and by being a part of a sports team that has put me at an advantage in this respect.

Being in my last year of uni, the thought of not being a part of my university netball team makes me want to cry, however I can look back and say joining a sports team was something I will NEVER regret – in fact, it was the best thing I did!

Liv xx


Nursing abroad- My time in Uganda


HAPPY NEW YEAR! exams are over lets start off with some nursing ”waunderlusting” (urban dictionary: a strong desire to travel) shall we….

Nursing abroad, Its something that’s on all our lists of things we would love to do as nurses right?

Well I got to fulfil my dream of nursing abroad in my second year elective and I couldn’t encourage you more to go and do the same at some point in your nursing career!

Read away: (this is also featured in the school of health sciences news letter for last term, first publishing of my nursing career! WOOP!)

In March 2016, I travelled to Mannya, a community in Southern Uganda, to complete my elective placement.

My first impressions of Uganda were great! Everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming and the vast green landscapes showed just how beautiful Uganda is.

I spent the majority of my placement at St Bernard’s Health Centre, a facility established in 2007 by the Cotton On Foundation with the support of St. Bernard’s Parish, Australia. My mentor, Vincent, ran the centre and introduced me to life in Uganda. At first I was intimidated by the cultural differences between Uganda and the UK, in both everyday life and nursing practices, but I quickly realised that I was only going to derive as much from this experience as I was willing to put in, so I quickly starting making the most of it!

The working conditions created unique challenges, for example I was in an impoverish area of Uganda where running water and electricity were limited and turned off at 10pm meaning work sometimes had to be carried out in the dark. I soon got used to my surroundings and grasped all the opportunities I was given.

I experienced such a wide range of cases during my placement; I encountered many different tropical diseases, situations and uncommon causes of death. I came into contact with many young patients; I nursed malnourished children and cared for orphaned causalities of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I also got an insightful experience when I worked at a specialist HIV and malnutrition unit in a nearby district. I was also involved with the antenatal care of pregnant women, performing physical examinations, assisting with minor surgical procedures, ward rounds and the consultation of patients. I got a chance to perform baby immunisations against diseases such as polio, diptheria, tetanus and pertussis. But by far the most rewarding aspect of my trip was learning how to deliver babies with very limited resources; I helped to deliver many babies, one of which was named Olivia after me, an honour and a special experience.

I found it to be such an amazing experience to see first-hand the medicine in a rural Third World community. I was inspired by the way the nurses maintained a high standard of care and showed a wide range of skills and practical ability with limited resources. They are always wanting to learn and enhance their knowledge to ensure their own professional progression and a better care for their community.

Leading up to my trip I raised money to purchase a new delivery bed, and other vital medical equipment needed for diagnostics such as an autoscope. I was involved in seeing how the money was put to use and actually help to construct the delivery bed!  Since my trip I have kept in contact with my Ugandan family who have told me that in October 2016 there were 16 babies born on the ‘Olivia bed’ – it feels amazing to know the fundraising I did is making a real difference in the community. Continuing to raise money is vital for the future of the centre, I continue to support the Cotton On Foundation in their aim is to work with the local community to help build a healthy and sustainable future for the people of southern Uganda. Even though the people of Mannya have so little, they are full of hope, joy and love; they are truly inspirational.

I encourage everyone to participate in an international elective during their programme. Not only has it enhanced my career prospects in finding future employment as a nurse at home, but it was also a humbling, eye opening and life-changing adventure!

That’s me! if you ever want to chat about how I organised my placement abroad don’t hesitate to ask!

Just an update on my 3rd year schedule: I’m currently on placement 9-5 in a clinic, working weekend bank shifts, doing my dissertation in my spare time and looking for jobs = EXHAUSTED!

However I passed my Drugs calculations exam! YAY! top tip make NHS Sn@p your best friend for a few weeks, learn your formulas and you will be winning!

Liv x

Oh I wish it could be Christmas every day! (not sure my student finances would stretch that far!)


Christmas time, mistletoe and wine… and revision in the student world!

Congratulations to all the first years for completing your first term, surviving freshers, 9am lectures and freshers flu! Second years, well done on completing your first placement of year 2!

As for third years (like myself) we are up to our eyes in dissertation writing, reading and reviewing. However that has not dampened my Christmas spirit!


Surgical ward Christmas party

I’ve completed my Christmas shopping, ate too many mince pies already and cannot wait to binge on Christmas TV, Quality Street and pigs in blankets! This week I went home to Devon for the start of my Christmas festivities with my family before traveling to Belfast to have Christmas with my boyfriend and his family!

I was also invited to my last placements ward Christmas party… just because we’re nurses doesn’t mean we can’t party! I felt so grateful to be invited and I loved seeing all my colleagues again. Still it’s a funny feeling seeing your colleagues out of uniform and singing their hearts out to the Pogues Fairy Tale of New York!

This year feels a bit nostalgic, it’s my last Christmas as a student and the prospect that I won’t have Christmas off next year makes me feel so sad! I’ve spoken to some of my friends who are now qualified nurses and graduates from City about how they feel about working over Christmas and their approaches to dealing with work over the festive period – I’ve summarised 3 main positives they all emphasised on:

1. Spend quality time with your families – it doesn’t have to be on Christmas day.

2. Embrace the good work you are doing – you’re making a huge difference to someone’s life who is sick and away from their families at this festive time of year.


Happy Christmas!

3. Always smile and keep positive! You won’t be working Christmas day every year.

Being with family at this time of year is very important to me, that is something I will take forward as I become a qualified nurse. It’s not about the day or presents it’s about spending time with the people you love, and we are going into a hard profession which makes us all HEROS! Speaking of which, I’m going to go open a tub of them!

If you haven’t already done so, check out the Adult Nursing newsletter for the autumn term… it has some great content and features me and my experiences in Uganda! I will be doing a blog post about it in the New Year, so for all those eager to do a placement abroad watch this space.

Happy Christmas to you all and a happy new year!

Liv x

How to organise the busiest year of your life!


Organisation is definitely something that is drummed into us from the moment we start university. We sit and nod our heads and think ‘yes, I know what I’m doing’… well, I thought I had good organisation before I started third year – oh how wrong I was!  So where to start on trying to organise the busiest year of your life… so far?


Yes, I felt the need to by a over priced KIKKI.K diary to keep me ”organised” haha

Get a diary! Whether it’s on your phone calendar, book or bedroom wall, if it’s not in the diary you’re probably end up not doing it because either you’ll forget about it or because you’ll double book yourself! I also find post-it notes useful for prompts or reminders. Stick them on your mirror or somewhere you will look daily to keep those important tasks at the front of your mind.

Since being back in theory I have had to be disciplined with my time management and organisation. I’ve had lectures to attend for two modules, one being my dissertation and the other being my management and leadership module, both really important and coming with a lot of independent work and wider reading which I have to factor into my weekly schedule. I have goals each week that I want to achieve to ensure I’m on track and keeping up to date with work deadlines. I have a separate dissertation timetable which can be daunting to look at but a must-have to ensure everything is done efficiently and in good time.  I also have to factor in paid work as the bills won’t pay themselves! I aim to work 2-3 times per week, whether that is doing bank HCA work or student ambassador shifts. It’s exhausting and can set me back in my educational aims if I do long shifts but it’s a necessity. It’s also the time of year where there are a lot of nursing recruitment fairs coming up. I attended one recently (Nursing Times Live) and it was incredibly helpful to get an idea of what hospitals have to offer us as newly qualified nurses and when their open days and interviews are (something else to put in the diary).


Or scale a climbing wall in Northampton square to let your hair down!. Some of the easiest things to forget to schedule are things that you enjoy doing most like sport, going to the gym or a crazy night out at the SU – remember you are still a student!

I had my first meeting with my dissertation supervisor last week, we discussed my question and set goals for how my dissertation writing and research should progress. This has really helped me to set clear aims and objectives. I will prioritise my time from now until Christmas on my dissertation aims and will factor in all other activities around that!

In terms of organisation and time management, being at university has taught me that if you don’t tackle deadlines or projects head on and in plenty of time they can become so over whelming you lose motivation and put yourself under immense stress. So from someone who has been there and still occasionally slips up, get organised stay on top of your goals. Good luck with any January exam revision or essay deadlines looming pre or post-Christmas! Make sure you enjoy Christmas, get organised and you will feel a lot better for it….it can also be a new year’s resolution (….too early?).

Liv x



The expression ‘it’s scary how time flies’ could never be more appropriate when describing how quickly my adult nursing degree has gone. I remember sitting in my first lecture, Mellissa (our then course leader) saying that you will be surprised just how quickly this degree will pass and in no time you will be competent and confident registered nurses. Well, 2 and a half years on and here I am, a third year adult nursing student, who can confidently and competently look after a range of patients and adapt to suit the surrounding I am in due to the essential nursing skills and knowledge I have gained over the past two years of my course.

I have been at North Middlesex University Hospital for all of my clinical placements, and I LOVE it. It’s a hospital where I have been supported and encouraged to learn, develop and grow my knowledge and become the best nurse I can be. Because the hospital is a small trust I feel like a part of the family, I work with people who are not only my colleagues but also my friends. Building such relationships not only makes the placement more enjoyable but also opens the door for future opportunities. My advice for anyone choosing where to complete their placements – go to somewhere that suits your personality, you’ll be spending a great deal of time there over the next few years and it’s vital that your feel comfortable in that environment.

I’m just about to finish my first block of placement as a third year student. I have been on surgical rotation which involves experiencing anaesthetics, scrub side and recovery, but the majority of my time has been spent on the surgical ward. For me this rotation has really allowed me to demonstrate my knowledge of anatomy and physiology whilst allowing me to use my practical skills and understanding through assessing and looking after patients.

I experienced patients arriving in theatre with a nervous look on their faces, and observed and applied the skills used by nurses and ODP’s to relax and comfort them. The airway management skills I developed whilst working with anaesthetists helped me appreciate the importance of monitoring vital signs in a theatre environment.

In the main theatre I learnt the importance of the sterile field which is so vital to the work in surgery. I got to experience being a first scrub nurse for minor procedures and second scrub nurse for several major operations. It’s an amazing feeling to be assisting with something that is changing a patient’s life. I was so well supported by my mentor and the theatre team, I found that the skills and knowledge I displayed in theatres has helped me now I’m on the surgical ward, when I raise concerns about my patient to a member of the surgical team they understand and respect my views because they trust my clinical judgement….which feels amazing!

In recovery I learnt the importance of monitoring patients’ vital signs and observations, pain control and Arterial line management. We also discussed at length the importance of a detailed hand over to ensure patients get the best care.

I have spent the majority of my 4 week placement on a male surgical ward. I have never enjoyed being on a ward more, it focuses on being able to use all your skills to monitor, treat and care for a range of different patients who have come in for different procedures and management. I feel like a part of a very well-oiled machine and it’s given me real confidence and excitement for the future.

What is evident throughout all the placements I’ve completed during my degree is that City students are head and shoulders above the rest…and that’s not just my own biased opinion, it’s what others have said to me. We are fortunate that our programme allows us to consolidate our knowledge and understanding through theory and simulated practice before going into placement to put our skills in practice for real. I’m proud to be a nursing student and I’m proud to be a student at City.

Third year carries a lot of weight both practically and theoretically. In particular, writing a dissertation (which I have just submitted my title for – to be discussed more thoroughly in an upcoming blog post) and completing a management placement (the final 12 week placement before we qualify) requires us to draw on all the skills we have developed throughout our degree.  However it also offers many opportunities which I’m so excited for. For example, I’m starting to see how I want my career as a nurse to develop, I have the opportunity to help other nursing students through this blog and being the adult nursing advocate for the nursing society and sharing my experiences with others. Completing a nursing degree, though not easy, will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do, both for yourself personally and for the people whose lives you touch through your career.

I have theory to look forward to in the lead up to Christmas! Which I love as it reminds me still that I am a student! Lectures!! Savour them while you can because you will go from one to three stripes in the blink of an eye!

Plenty more blog posts to come!

Olivia x


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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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