Like many of our Adult Nursing students, Sophie Kemp has long harboured the ambition to become a nurse. “Growing up, I had experiences of family members in hospital for long periods of time, and it really inspired me to become a nurse myself,” she says.
“I love helping and caring for people and I’ve always had a keen interest in science and medicine, so knew it was the career for me,” explains Sophie. “Helping and supporting people at their most vulnerable and having a positive impact on their lives and those of their family is a real privilege.”
After attending an Open Day at LSBU, Sophie knew she had found the right university for her.
Everyone was so friendly, and I could see myself doing well and enjoying studying here.
“I study at the Havering campus because it is close to home, which is important to me – but I can still go to the main campus in London if I want to, so it’s the best of both worlds for me.”
With her eagerness to make a difference clear to all, it is no surprise to find that Sophie feels the best part of her course has been the placements she has been able to undertake. “It’s the best feeling putting on your uniform and feeling like a nurse, it was like a dream come true,” she says. “From my first placement, I felt like part of a team and, as someone with no healthcare experience before university, the different placements offered by LSBU have helped me learn so much and prepared me for the future.”
The varied placement opportunities have, Sophie says, helped give her a good grounding in many aspects of nursing, as well as allowing her to pursue areas that really interest her. “I’ve had experiences in A&E, acute medicine, surgery, an elderly ward, outpatients and community settings,” she says. “All those experiences have helped me gain knowledge of different specialties and to understand which areas of nursing specifically interest me.”
Sophie credits her placement experiences with growing her confidence and providing the ideal setting to develop her skills.
When I first started I was nervous going into different situations but now after all my placements my confidence has greatly improved and I am confident in my ability as a nurse.
Sophie explains that as a student on placement, she felt she was treated as part of the team; “You’re allocated a mentor who guides you through it, and helps you to identify learning opportunities. From the very start, you are involved in patient care and, as you progress, you become more independent.”
Sophie is especially looking forward to her elective placement, where students can plan and organise their own placement. “I’m going to a fertility clinic at Barts, which will be an amazing new experience for me, and one I am looking forward to,” she says.
Clinical skills labs
Sophie also believes that the facilities at LSBU, such as our clinical skills labs, have been invaluable to her development. “The clinical skills labs help to prepare you for your placement,” she says. “You can learn the essential skills in a controlled environment, with input and support from the lecturers. As a result, you are far less nervous when on placement because you have learnt how to do lots of the practical skills in the correct way already – and you can get more out of the placements as a result of that.”
Sophie found the support she received from staff at LSBU to be another of the highlights of studying here.
Students receive endless support from all members of staff, I have always felt supported throughout my whole degree
She also values the advantages of being taught by lecturers that have nursing experience; “They use their experiences in teaching, and it’s their stories and anecdotes that I remember and help me put theory into practice.”
Looking to the future
When she graduates, Sophie will be taking up a role as a nurse on MRU at Queen’s Hospital, where she is currently undertaking her management placement. She’s excited to be starting her career, and has some advice for anyone else considering a nursing degree at LSBU:
“Always be enthusiastic about learning,” she says. “It’s especially important on placement. If you show willingness to learn, people will be enthusiastic about teaching you. Get the most out of all your experiences, and take every opportunity to learn something new. Most importantly of all, enjoy yourself – those three years go quickly!”