Adult Nursing at University of Surrey

Open Day at St George’s Hospital, London, my dream hospital!

Why I chose Adult Nursing

One day, I was watching 24 Hours in Police Custody with my Mum and a person on the show became injured but no one was giving them first aid and I got so frustrated. My Mum turned to me and said, ‘You would be a good nurse’. It felt right. That night, I started looking at Universities I could go to and started writing my personal statement.

In hindsight, I think I would have always worked in healthcare. I get really nerdy about learning medical conditions and guessing what is wrong with people. Learning is something I enjoy, especially with something I’m so passionate about, and with nursing, there is always something more to learn. You never get bored.

Ultimately, I chose Adult Nursing because I like a challenge. You look after people from such a wide range of ages and from all walks of life. Skill wise, there is so much variety and opportunity to grow and develop and everyone wants you to succeed.

Typical week as an Adult Nursing student

As part of our degree, nursing students are required to be on placement, which is where we work inside the hospital and are treated as staff. It is my favourite part of my degree as we get hands-on experience in different areas of nursing from A&E, to medical or surgical wards, to GP practices.

Our weeks can look very different depending on whether we are in theory or are out on placement. Since I love placement, I will go through a typical week as a third-year on a surgical ward.

Monday: Placement! Throughout the day I will be shadowing a nurse, doing tasks such as routine medication administration like pain relief, tending to wound care, preparing discharges and more. As a third year, I need less support as I take on more responsibility, improve time management and prioritisation.

Wednesday: Placement day! I got permission from the patient and surgeon to watch a total hip replacement. This is a very common procedure, especially in the elderly who are more at risk of fractures following falls. I got to wear scrubs, see the anaesthesia procedure and actually watch the surgery!

Friday: Placement day! The education nurse for the ward booked me and another third-year student onto a study day with the in-patient pain nurses. I loved this day as I got to learn about the physiology of pain, how certain pain relief works in the body and how to better assess pain in people who struggle with communication.


On this course, we have so many opportunities to learn and develop our skills and put theory into practice. Our simulation suites in the Kate Granger Buildings are designed to look like hospital wards, kitted with 6-8 beds and all the equipment you would have while on placement. We even have dummies which blink, breathe and have pulses. With them, we can practice all our assessments and basically do what we do best.

Elective Placement

We also have Elective Placements at the end of second year. This four-week placement allows you to practice anywhere you want! You can stay in the UK, which is what I did, or travel abroad and spend a month in countries like Thailand, Norway or Canada. I spent mine working with the specialist stroke nurses and in the Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit. On one shift, I was able to go with a patient to St George’s Hospital in London to observe a thrombectomy, which is the removal of the blockage causing the stroke. I loved the fast-paced environment and I fell in love with emergency medicine.

One of my placements gave the nurses cupcakes to celebrate International Nurses Day!


At Surrey, we have such an abundance of support available. The Centre for Wellbeing has been one of my main sources of support – you can book online meetings with a trained counsellor and talk through emotional, psychological or personal issues. Some of the counsellors specialise in certain areas such as neurodiversity, relationships and gender diversity and sexuality, so you can always find someone to help with your particular problem. If you don’t feel you can chat to a counsellor, we have peer support ambassadors who are so lovely and helpful.

Education-wise, you are always able to chat to personal tutors about any issues you may have. I adore my personal tutor; she is just so knowledgeable and can signpost me to other services, like the library team or neurodiversity and disability. On placement, I know I can talk to my education lead, who sorts out any issues.

Genuinely, we are so spoilt for choice when it comes to support at Surrey!

Top tips

  • There is no such thing as a silly question! Some things we need to know are really hard to wrap your head around. Two years later and I still need reminding about how the kidneys work.
  • It’s okay to need help! There is so much support available through Surrey – just ask and someone will direct you to the right person.
  • Find something you love outside of nursing. It’s really important to have something you can do to disconnect when you need to recharge and prevent burn out. I play netball in a local recreational team and rock climb.
  • If you have an issue whilst on placement, speak up! Your voice is so important. Chat to your personal tutor and education lead at your hospital trust and they will help.