Learning Disability Nursing Student
Glasgow Caledonian University
1. What are you looking forward to?I am definitely looking forward to helping people, or at least trying to. Nursing is all about patient centred care and if you do not care about people then you should choose a different profession. Experiencing a different culture and learning how nursing in Malawi compares to nursing in Scotland. Working in the sun will be pretty good too! I can’t pinpoint one thing I am looking forward to most but feel like this is a once in a lifetime chance and I can’t wait to go!
2. What will you miss most?Will I be a typical Scot abroad and say Irn Bru and a piece and sausage? Haha! I will miss a lot of home comforts, I know that, but want to prove to myself and others that I will survive without fake tan and false lashes for a while! I will of course miss my friends, family and my boyfriend Joe but the person I will miss most is my nephew Luca. He will turn 2 while I am in Malawi and I do fear that he will forget who I am while I’m gone. It will be exciting to come home and see how much he grows up in 7 weeks! I will also miss my Mum a lot, she is a great listener and good at calming me down when I blow the smallest worry way out of proportion like having no money to get to Malawi!
3. What have you enjoyed most about the planning process?Working with the group! Meeting up weekly to discuss what we need to do to make Malawi happen has been fun and stressful but it has really helped being able to bounce ideas off one another.
4. What has been the hardest part of the preparation?Having an 8 week placement before Christmas meant we had no scheduled days in University so it made it very difficult to meet and plan with the group. It felt at times that we had to put planning on hold as we were all on placement in different areas and also had exam and essay stress to deal with. This term it is much easier as we are in Uni 3 days a week, although we still have essay and exam stress!
5. Have you ever lived abroad before?Not yet…but seeing my friends travel and plan to move abroad to work has made me very jealous so maybe one day!
6. What made you choose LD nursing?I have to be honest with this answer and say that I found Learning Disability nursing completely by chance. It is extremely different from anything I have ever done before. I knew I wanted to study nursing when I started my 2nd year at college studying HND beauty therapy, I had thoughts of dropping out, however, I felt I would have wasted a year already at college and decided to continue and complete my HND qualification. After finishing college I began working in an office as an admin assistant as I had missed the deadline to apply for a nursing course that year. Luckily my mum encouraged me to apply through clearance on UCAS – and from there I found Learning Disability nursing at GCU. I was still very naïve when beginning the course and thought that all nurses worked in hospitals and wore a uniform. I have since then had my eyes opened to the different branches of nursing. I now work part time as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities and feel this strengthens my work on placement and at university.
7. How do you think this placement will help you to be a better nurse?I feel that growing up in Scotland and always having the NHS, I have forgotten that this is a luxury that most countries do not have. I feel that my experience in Malawi will make me a
more resourceful nurse and make me appreciate the tools and equipment available to me in Scotland. I hope that the experience will not only improve my skills professionally but also help me develop personally.