Eleanor Wood, Alumni, School of Healthcare

Eleanor Wood

I chose to come to Leeds to study because I think that the opportunities at the University of Leeds for a nursing student are really good. For example, the Leeds General Infirmary is right next to the University and there are lots of specialist placements that are available at the LGI and I think that gives you really good learning opportunities. For most of my placements, I was on specialty wards, for example, Cardiology and Cancer. I think that this broadens your horizons, some universities that offer this course, a lot of the wards they offer are general medicine and although that does give you really good skills based knowledge, I think that Leeds University allows you to look into different specialties and explore all different things that you could want to do in your future career.

There’s also good community placements offered, I thought the community programme was really good. I had six different community placements which I thought were excellent.

In terms of the support that we got on the course, I thought it is very good and if you are actually proactive in seeking the support then tutors are really helpful and really supportive for you. But again you’re seen as adults on this course and they tell you that the whole way through if you’re not going to be proactive in seeking that support you’re not going to get it but when you do seek the tutors are really supportive. I thought our support was outstanding.

I specifically chose Child Nursing because when it comes down to it I love working with children. When I was at school I loved volunteering with kids, I was an adult leader in Girl Guiding, working with children aged 7 to 14-year-olds. I’m also a sailing instructor so in my spare time I teach children sailing and I’ve also volunteered with disabled children. I think that experience made me want to work with children and that made me think well what do I want to do with children. I really enjoyed biology and the body and learning about that and then from a caring aspect I had a part-time job as a Carer and I absolutely loved it. I loved meeting the people and working with the other carers in a team and that made me think well what kind of job could I have that brings all these different skills together and all of this experience together and I thought nursing would be the one. I wanted something that was challenging as well and would push me and that would make me develop in my career, which would give me lots of different opportunities to develop and lots of different areas that you can go into, and I think nursing does that.

The highlights of the course were definitely the placements and the opportunities that I’ve had on placements. As a nursing student you get to go on placements where you see the most incredible things, you see people and children at their most vulnerable and you have an opportunity to influence these children and have an impact on their lives and they’ll remember that a lot of them will remember you for the rest of their lives. You get feedback where they say they couldn’t have gone through it without you, you’ve been incredible and that stays with you. For me definitely the placements but then again the theory side is important, being in the classroom and learning about that and then being able to bring that into practice, so it all ties together.

Part of the reason why I chose to do nursing at the University of Leeds is the Student Union. The Student Union has been voted one of the best student unions in the country and the societies that they offer are absolutely amazing, there’s something for everyone, from cushion making to Quidditch on Hyde Park it’s absolutely amazing. I was really lucky to get in with amazing societies, I met absolutely incredible people. In my first year, I joined the sailing team and I was part of kayaking, in sailing, we did something called team racing, we went away for weekends and it was fun. We went on nights out and for curries and then during the week we had socials every Wednesday and I met really close friends who I then lived with for two years and it was absolutely amazing. I felt really lucky to have met the society and had the opportunities.

I completed a placement on PICU which is Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, and I was really anxious about going onto a PICU because as you can imagine it is quite intense, and a lot of the equipment that they used I wasn’t used too. In third year, you go on to typical wards and even if it’s a specialty ward it’s kind of the same general care that you’ll be given, even it is specialised and there is specialist knowledge in there. On Paediatric Intensive care it’s very different, the patients are critically ill, there quite acute patients and so when I first went onto the ward I found it quite daunting but as I got more used to the placement I started to really enjoy it and its one to one care so you really get to know the patient and get to know the families which I think is really nice. It’s very specialist knowledge in there and it’s really a placement that requires you to think on your feet and act quickly in some situations because of how critically ill the children are.

The reason why you do nursing is not because you want to get a paycheck in your hand it’s because you want to make a difference to people and that’s why people do nursing because they want to make an impact on people’s lives and they want to help people.