Oliver studied BSc Children’s Nursing, and since graduating he has begun working in an A&E department as a Paediatric Staff Nurse. He also hopes to be an advocate and to help more men get into nursing careers.
What were you doing before you came to study at City?
I came straight to study at City from studying my A-Levels in Sociology, Geography and Music. I had been working part time in Marks and Spencer but gave this up to begin my studies in London.
How did you develop an interest in Nursing and what made you decide to become a Children’s Nurse?
This is a bit of a random story and something many people ask me.
Quite simply, I did not know what I wanted to study and when it came to looking at universities I saw Children’s Nursing in a prospectus.
Deep down, I always knew I wanted to work with children as I find them so interesting and that we can learn so much from them.
When I saw Children’s nursing (I didn’t even know you could do a specialist degree in this), I just knew that this is what I wanted to do.
Why did you choose to study at City, University of London?
I actually had already had some relationship with City, University of London as my sister trained there, finishing before I started, in Midwifery.
However, I loved all the lecturers who I met at the open day and throughout my interview process and I thought that being in the centre of London would be ideal to commute for placements.
Sometimes these things have to be practical as well!
Studying at City
What did you enjoy most about studying this course?
There are so many things to enjoy about studying Children’s Nursing. Being able to practically develop my knowledge through my placements (which were all across London) as well as through the simulate practice sessions which we had throughout our course.
I also enjoyed the way these sessions and the practical element increased bonds with course mates. Everyone is so supportive across all the nursing courses, the lecturers, the practice assessors and supervisors, they all want you to succeed and they do their best to help you do this and to graduate.
That’s why nursing is a brilliant option, if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy the course the whole way through.
What was your favourite thing about studying at City?
Being so central in London, as I have previously mentioned, had so many positives. Allowing for easy access to the rest of London (and mainland UK as a whole) and this allowed for so many adventures and excitement in seeing new places and learning new things.
How did you find the teaching and facilities on your course?
Sometimes you may not understand the relevance of something you’re learning, but things make a lot more sense once you’re putting it into practice.
The teaching on the course has been everything I have needed to be able to start my career as a paediatric nurse.
The facilities within City are excellent, there are so many options on where you can go and do some work and the clinical suites used for our simulated practice are great for providing a real insight into clinical working.
Where did you go on your clinical placements, and what did you enjoy most about these experiences?
I had the fortunate experience of visiting many different places for my clinical placements across the three years. There were definitely ones I preferred and ones I didn’t but that allowed me to work out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to work.
Each placement allowed for a massive increase of my knowledge and allowed me to work a different way.
One placement which I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy was my first year nursery placement; I naïvely went in with the attitude that it would be a wasted 4 weeks. However, I learnt so much about childhood development and interaction and ended up loving it.
My overall favourite placement was at the Royal London Hospital (owned by Barts Health), where I trained in the Paediatric Emergency Department for over 9 months across my degree (due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
The team there were all so lovely and I learnt so much and that is what has led onto me loving working in ED and the environment that comes with it.
Did you overcome any challenges during your studies?
Throughout my studies I had to overcome many challenges, both personally and professionally. I think many of my fellow graduates and I would agree that the biggest challenge was the adaptation to the coronavirus pandemic.
For us this not only meant extended time working in clinical areas, but also virtual learning making it extremely difficult not having course mates to bounce off of.
Advice for others
What would be your advice to anyone considering studying Nursing, or any students who have recently started the course?
My advice, if you are considering studying nursing, would be to do it – you might have days of regret… But I promise you, those days are few and far between! And to students who have recently started, then keep going – you’ll get there.
Undoubtedly it will be one of the hardest things you do, but you will get that best feeling when you cross the stage at the graduation or when you treat that first child as a qualified nurse.
What would be your advice to other men considering a nursing profession?
I know for a lot of men paediatric nursing may not be your first thought when it comes to a career. I don’t believe it is all about gender though, as long as you are kind, caring and willing to learn then nursing can be for you!
Life after City
Can you tell us a bit about the role(s) you’ve had since finishing your studies?
I now work as a paediatric staff nurse in one of my local A&E departments, outside of London. This includes a continued mix of shift work – days, nights, weekends, bank holidays (you name it, we work it).
The team that I work with is rather small but this allows some great connections and bonds to form, exactly what I wanted after finishing my degree.
How did your time at City help prepare you for this?
My time at City taught me so much both in my professional field of paediatric nursing as well as personally through growth and maturity.
I still look back with great fondness on clinical sessions we had in my first year while undertaking basic tasks such as observations and hand washing.
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
As weird as it sounds, I love the thrill of not knowing what is coming next. Many people who work 9-5 office jobs know what they will be doing that day, whether that be emails or meetings, but for me I enjoy not knowing what is coming in.
It could be a trauma or a child seriously unwell as a complication of diabetes, it could be a 16-year-old struggling with their mental health or a newborn who is having breathing difficulties.
This all leads to a very exciting work life and makes my brain keep ticking over all the time to focus on the situation in hand.
What are your hopes and goals for the future?
As a natural leader, I hope to be able to go on and do this in the future throughout paediatric nursing.
I would also love to be an advocate and to help more men come into nursing (particularly paediatrics) as for some children, a male nurse could be a role model that’s needed so desperately in their life.
My main goal however is to continue treating poorly children and looking after their families with any help I can give.