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Starting a nursing degree? Our tips for students to stay on course

As thousands of nursing students start degrees, Nursing Standard asked registered nurses to share top tips and we were inundated with nuggets of wisdom

As thousands of nursing students start degrees, Nursing Standard asked registered nurses to share top tips and we were inundated with nuggets of wisdom

Tens of thousands of nursing students are celebrating as they prepare to embark on their degree courses after A-Level results were announced this week.

Figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) on 18 August show that 21,130 applicants have been accepted onto nursing degree courses starting in September 2022, down 7% from last year.

As thousands of nursing students start degrees, Nursing Standard asked registered nurses to share top tips and we were inundated with nuggets of wisdom

As thousands of nursing students start degrees, Nursing Standard asked registered nurses to share top tips and were inundated with nuggets of wisdom
Picture: iStock

Tens of thousands of nursing students are celebrating as they prepare to embark on their degree courses after A-Level results were announced this week.

Figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) on 18 August show that 21,130 applicants have been accepted onto nursing degree courses starting in September 2022, down 7% from last year.

Self-care at the top of many registered nurses’ list

Nursing Standard asked registered nurses to share their top tips for students starting their courses this September, and we were inundated with nuggets of wisdom.

Many on Twitter were quick to point out what a rewarding career nursing is, while self-care was also at the top of many nurses’ list.

One nurse said: ‘Your well-being needs to be your priority, take care of yourself to care for others.’

Another added: ‘Make time for self-care. Try to make some good friends. Nobody understands the pressures of student nurses like other student nurses.’

Good time management, being organised and trusting your gut feelings are crucial

Students were also advised to finish assignments in a timely manner and ‘not leave them piling up’.

Being organised and having good time management was vital, as well as listening to patients, taking notes and trusting your gut feelings.

One nurse admitted: ‘It’s a long, tough course. You’ll be challenged, you’ll doubt yourself and want to give up. Keep your eye on the prize; your PIN and being the best nurse you can.’

Nursing journey ‘a marathon not a sprint’ and focus on the patient

Many nurses pointed out the importance of giving the standard of care that you would want to receive for yourself, or your family members.

One nurse said: ‘Consider your journey a marathon not a sprint. When looking for learning opportunities, focus on the patient not the task.

Invest in decent shoes and take plenty of food and drink on placement

Others had more practical advice such as ‘invest in some decent shoes’, ‘take plenty of food and drink on placement’, ‘always carry your own teaspoon in your pocket’.

Universal advice was also offered, such as: ‘If something’s warm, sticky, and not yours – wear gloves’.

One nurse also suggested getting a bank job as a porter, while the Queen’s Nursing Institute chief executive Crystal Oldman advised students to ‘embrace all the learning’ and to look out for role models ‘of the type of nurse that you want to be when you qualify’.


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