5 things you should know before starting a nursing degree:

  1. It’s hard-Please don’t underestimate how challenging these next three years are going to be. It’s a degree you need to give your all to get what you want out of it. Nursing is not a normal degree, there will be literal blood sweat and tears involved. There will be days you feel like you don’t want to do it anymore and that it’s not for you. However it is 100% worth it, every second of it. The highs outweigh every low and you will have never felt prouder of yourself when all your hard work pays off. 
  2. Your grades don’t matter- You can spend so much time fixated on the % you get for every assignment you submit and exam you sit. You will not be happy with every grade you get but it doesn’t matter. A pass is a pass and a degree is a degree. Every nurse I have worked with has told me that they have never been asked what classification they got, employers only care if you got a degree and that is something you can get with 40% in every module. Everyone works differently and some people thrive in placement rather than academically and vice versa, don’t compare and don’t worry just do your best and enjoy it. 
  3. Enjoy every moment-I can not express enough how quickly the next three years of your life will go. I can still remember my first day as if it were yesterday and now I’m less than a year away from qualifying. Take every experience you can, learn as much as you can and enjoy being a student because before you know it you’ll be a fully qualified nurse. Take advantage of the moments you can have as a student that you may not necessarily get as a qualified nurse, ask to sit and read a story to the child who’s parents can’t stay overnight with them, ask to go and watch a surgery and ask to spend time in different departments, this is what being a student is all about. 
  4. Don’t forget to be a student- Yes this course is full on but take the opportunities to go and be a normal student at university, socialise and make friends, go out and party (maybe not the night before lectures or placement). You will find some of your best friends at uni, you will make a bond with fellow student nurses that you won’t have with anyone else, so rely on each other for support as no one else knows quite what you’re going through. Go and explore Guildford, go shopping, join societies and sports teams. The university will support you in making sure you’re able to take part in extra curricular activities.
  5. Take care of yourself- There will be times this course tests your well-being and provokes all new emotions. Moving to university and starting a new journey can be difficult and anxiety provoking. I can not stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself before anything else. You will not be able to do any of the above if you’re not taking care of yourself first. Eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep and find a bit of time in everyday for yourself, to do what you love and relax. Our university has amazing well-being services so be sure to reach out to the centre of well-being or your personal tutor if you are struggling with the course, homesickness or anything else. 

Author: Tia Dolphin, Year 3 Student

Disclaimer: This blog contains personal opinions of students only and does not necessarily represent the views of the Children’s Nursing team, School of Health Sciences or the University of Surrey.

If you’re interested in writing a blog post for us – whether it’s a one-off about something in Nursing you’re passionate on, or as a regular contributor, please email Tia Dolphin (td00227@surrey.ac.uk) or Chloe Thomas (ct00633@surrey.ac.uk) – we’d love to hear from you!