Category: UNI reflections

DID IT!

There you have it.
2 years of stress being launched into the air!

Am I sorry I did it?
No.

Would I do it again?
No.

Now I just want to get on with the work.
I still have loads to learn on the job. It doesn’t just stop now that I have my qualification. This is children’s medicine we’re talking about and I still have a ton of learning to do.

No, the stressful part is over.
Uni is finished and I will never ever do it again.

People ask me if I would ever go for the full qualification and a band 5.
The simple answer is NOOOOOO!!!!!
I’m quite happy at the level I am now at.

Considering that when I started this job nearly 11 years ago, I had no qualification for it at all, I don’t think I’ve done too bad.
A level 3 Health and Social Care qualification and now a Foundation Degree.

Actually pretty chuffed with myself!!

CULMINATION OF TWO YEARS

So today has been a bit of a last minute panic with a rush to get outfits while still not knowing for definite that it would actually be happening.

As anyone who reads my blog regularly will know, I have been studying to complete a foundation degree to become a Nurse Associate.
This is a new position created by the government to bridge the gap between Band 2 support workers and Band 5 fully qualified nurses and it was initially offered across the country to existing support workers with varying years of experience.

The first wave started in the Autumn of 2016 and I was part of the second wave in March 2017.

The course has been tough. It’s had it’s ups and downs. I refuse to tell anyone it’s been great and that you should ‘go for it’ without telling them about the commitment they will be making to literally ‘give up’ their days off for two whole years!

I was lucky enough to have a two week holiday in the first year for my Brother’s wedding in Italy, but it came at the expense of having to submit an essay 2 weeks early, and it ‘did’ effect my mark. Still passed it though, so can’t complain!
Apart from that though, no day off was had without thinking about essays, reports and projects. Even when you sneak in an actual day off, you’re thinking about what you ‘could’ be doing for Uni. There’s no ‘switching off’.

Anyway, for two years I didn’t do too bad. I got predominantly ‘A’ and ‘B’ grades and things were going great. The final piece of work had to be submitted in January and then it was time to start thinking about graduation.
I confirmed my attendance and bought guest tickets before they ran out.

And then……..

I got my final piece of work back, only to find that I had ‘FAILED’
I was devastated.
I don’t know what went wrong.
Had I become a little too complacent?
Had I just read the brief wrong and taken it in the wrong direction?

Things went from bad to worse as I then found out that the re-submission date wouldn’t be until 20th March, which meant the result probably wouldn’t be in until ‘AFTER’ my cohort graduates.
The next opportunity for graduation wouldn’t be until June/July time.

So I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to graduate with the rest of my cohort. I re-worked my final piece of work, submitted it and waited.

I don’t know what made me do it, but I logged onto my results last Thursday and discovered that I had passed!
GREAT!!
Except that it still needed to go to panel to be finalised.

So I sent an email to the faculty office to see where I stood with Graduation.
I wasn’t holding out much hope because I had previously been told that the next panel wasn’t until May.
I explained that it would be nice to graduate with my cohort, what were my chances?

So, Friday was spent taking a trip into Milton Keynes for an outfit and Ian needed a new suit.
It wouldn’t be a wasted trip because we’d need them for graduation ‘at some point’ anyway.

On Monday I got two emails back from the faculty office.
The first said, ‘it still needed to go through two processes so don’t hold out much hope. They’ll do what they can and let me know’.
The second said, ‘I could attend my graduation with my cohort. I will only receive a blank envelope as my certificate would not be ready’, but at least I would be graduating with the rest of my team!!

So today is the day.
Long story short, after two years of hard work, major up’s and down’s and tons of worrying, I’m finally graduating.

I’m actually feeling a bit sick!!

POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE!

After a relatively depressing first day at University, as the scale of the next year really hits home, I’m sat here already onto my second glass of wine!!

To try and gloss over the day, I’ve been catching up with some Youtube favourites.

Not a lot of people will know that an interest of mine is Swimming, diving and gymnastics.
Believe it or not, I used to do gymnastics!! I really enjoyed vaulting.

When it comes to competitions and the Olympics, I have always favoured swimming, diving and gymnastics.
Forget track and field events and winter olympics. As exiting as they are, I just love swimming, diving and gymnastics.

Two of my favourite Vloggers are Tom Daley and Nile Wilson.
Such enthusiastic and incredibly talented young men with a personality that just bubbles over into their Vlogs.

Both had new Vlogs to catch up on today.
Tom has been competing in China. His first official competition of the year and his first Vlog tackled jet lag!!

However, it was a Vlog from Nile Wilson that struck home.

In this Vlog he talks about the importance at looking where you came from and where you are now to truly understand how far you’ve come!!

As I sat here and thought about the last ten years, I have stunned myself into submission.

Ten years ago, after being a stay home mum for over 12 years, I was in the right place at the right time to find a job that I had no idea I would end up loving.
Paediatric Health Care Assistant.
Yes it’s tough and there are days where I wonder what I’m actually achieving, but when all is said and done, I do love my job and the people I work with and I wonder where I would be now If I’d found it 25 years ago!!

When I look at how the job has changed for me personally in the last 10 years, I began to understand exactly how much I’ve learnt.

I got the job with no official qualifications.
My job was very basic.
Help to keep people happy. Clean and make beds. Do basic observations and make sure the stock levels are OK.

In ten years, the amount I’ve learnt is unfathomable.
I can now look after a surgical patient from admission to discharge. The only thing I can’t do, because I’m not ‘qualified’ is pick them up from theatre and give them pain relief.
If anything out of the ordinary is required for ordering, I’m the ‘go to’ person and I know what all the stock is for!
If Doctors need help, I’m the ‘go to’ person If I’m around.
I now officially have a level 3 qualification to back up my on the job learning that I did a couple of years ago and I have been gently pushed by several work collegues to take things a little further, which is how I ended up doing the new ‘Trainee Nursing Associate’ foundation degree.

It’s a two year course which will see me able to do ‘some’ medications and I will have a pin number and be totally accountble for my actions.
A scary prospect, but one I feel ready for.
It will at least mean that I can completely take surgical patients from admission to discharge and be recognised in my pay band for the work I do.

I found the first year at level 4 a real challenge but I managed it. I passed with ‘A’s and ‘B’s and only one ‘C’.
I must admit, I impressed myself.

However…….

Today I started year two. We had a run down of what is expected this year and got our timetable of events that re-iterated the little melt down I had a couple of days ago.

As I drove home, I wondered if it was all worth it and then I watched Nile’s Vlog about looking back and taking stock of what you’ve achieved and I realised just how much I’ve grown personally in my unexpected career and I realised, ‘I CAN DO THIS!!’

It’s going to be an incredibly tough year but at the end of the day….. It’s only a year!!

I may have a few wobbles along the way but I know that I have the support I need from work collegues.
This time next year I will be qualified.
I ‘WILL’ be picking those patients up from theatre.
And I know I’ll be a hell of a lot more relaxed!!!

I COULD CRY

University officially starts again for year two next Monday.
I’ve just been onto my online portfolio to see if anything has been posted regarding timetable and essays etc.
I am now a little overwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew year two was going to be a step up but this is ridiculous!!
And on top of placements and work and homelife, I’m not going to know whether I’m coming or going.

Goodbye life for the next 12 months!!

I’m already exhausted and I haven’t even started.

I’m nearly 50, my knee problem is beginning to get me down.
With the level of Uni work I’ve just witnessed I’m seriously having doubts as to whether or not it’s actually worth it.

I want to cry!

TINY MELTDOWN

It had been a good week up to a couple of hours ago.

Uni on Monday dishing out more assignment briefs.
First placement on Tuesday.
Work in my own workplace on Thursday.
Celebrating a friend’s birthday on Friday.

The plan today was to have a day off and then get some work done on my 1st essay tomorrow but I was getting itchy fingers and decided to have a bit of a catch up with things on my portfolio today.

I got prepped for Uni on Monday and then noticed a communication about my group’s community placements only to find out that all my community placements are in Luton and not Bedford!!

Seriously?
We have all these services in Bedford. They couldn’t organise anything in Bedford for the Bedford students?

Then I started to have a little panic attack as I look at all the assignments that have been thrown at us so far and how much I haven’t done yet.

After my little wobble started to calm down a little I looked at things a bit more logically.

I will be doing a lot of work on my first essay tomorrow. Hopefully the bulk of it will be done and it will then be a case of checking and double checking the referencing.

The other assignments are due at various stages across the rest of the year.
We have simply been given the briefs so we can start to think about them.
I think I will need to spend some time with my Mentor to discuss what direction to take with each of them.

As for the placements. I’m just going to have to put up with them and make sure I claim for every penny I can!!
It’s still going to be a serious pain the bum travelling an extra day to Luton each week though.

So now I have the mother of all headaches!!
Where’s the wine?

IT’S OFFICIAL

Finally!!! It’s official.
I am now a student.
I finally have access to everything the Uni has to offer including my own online portfolio.

Uni Reg

Look at that cheesy grin.
Like it or not, that’s my ID for the next 2 years.

Today has been very chilled I think.
Spent the morning with the whole group getting registered. My little cohort of chums got through fairly quickly which meant a leisurly 3 hour gap before our afternoon with the librarian.
Loads of time for chatting and getting to know each other a little better.

The sun was shining and the view was stunning.

Uni sun

Maybe talking about my fan-fiction writing wasn’t a great idea!!

Anyway, This afternoon we were shown around the portfolio and how to access various things.
Then we went over referencing in a little more detail and surprisingly, it’s making more sense!!

I actually had a go at referencing the first line of my essay at work on Monday and I showed it to the lecturer today.
After her talk, I immediately picked up on a couple of my own mistakes and she made another suggestion so all in all, I don’t think I did too bad!!

Now I just have to tackle the rest of the essay.
Only another 1400 words to go!! Woohoo!!

TENTATIVE START

It’s been a tentative Uni start this week.
Doubts and worries have been getting the best of not only myself, but my colleagues as well.
That said, when I sit down and think about it, we’ve only just started. Very few of us have done anything academic in years. Referencing is a very new concept to everyone and turns everything we thought we knew about writing and researching on it’s head.
This first assignment is designed to get us into the right frame of mind to tackle University standard writing. It’s designed for us to make mistakes and learn from it.

BUT….I have a plan!!
Not a cunning one, an actual one!!

I’ve actually decided on the theme of my essay.
I have worked out what information needs to go into my essay to get to my conclusion.
I am now researching documents to pull the tidbits of information I need to backup what I want to say.
Then I need to actually write the essay being concise and making sure I don’t go overboard so that my conclusion stays within the 1500 word parameter.

You know what?
I’m going to stop worrying about it all.
I’m going to take it as it comes.
I’m going to keep on top of things.
I am going to succeed.

 

PROCRASTINATION

Today was supposed to be a ‘let’s get started on this first assignment day’
It’s turned out to be a bit of a procrastination day.

It’s not all been doom and gloom though.
I have managed to sign up to an Athens account and take a quick look at what’s available.
I’ve taken a look at Google Scholar and what that has to offer.
I think I’ve come up with a decision for my first essay but will need to have a chat with the girls at work tomorrow and get some more ideas.
Then I looked at what’s expected from the essay when it comes to layout and referencing etc and had a minor break down.

I’ve had contact today from one of our course co-ordinators who have informed me that I need to go for some breakaway training in a couple of weeks.

Seems I need to learn how to defend myself before going on some of my placements which is a little bit worrying to be honest!
The most I’ve had to deal with before is a kiddie tantrum and the odd kick or scratch.

Anyway, my head hurts. I have to be up at 05:30 for work tomorrow. I’m going to bed.

A GOOD DAY

Today was day number 2 at University.

Today was more talking about how to tackle studies but we also had to go to the main campus to be measured for uniforms!

I still do not have a uniform. They are all being ordered and will come in over the next few weeks.
I still am not officially registered so getting onto the online work site is still not happening although they have given us our first assignment in printouts.

I think we are all feeling a little frustrated at the moment with the lack of preparedness.
I know this has all happened very fast in the grand scheme of things but even so, we are all feeling like we’re on a bit of a catch up already and just want to get things going properly.

That said, I’m getting on great with my own little private cohort of local ladies. I have a feeling there maybe trouble ahead with little gatherings and such. The famillies need to watch out!!

So, tomorrow is a home study day and I have to start thinking about my first essay.
I need to start making a plan and gathering information.
I also need to register for an Athens account and take a look at the wealth of articles available to me and have a look at Google Scholar.

So, all in all, a good day. Just a little frustrating that we’re still not registered!!

I WANT MY STUDENT DISCOUNT!!

AND BREATH!!…..

So I officially started my Nursing Associate Trainee foundation degree today.
To say I was a little worried this morning was an understatement. I didn’t sleep particularly well last night either.

To start with, although I love driving and rocking out in my car, I HATE driving anywhere unfamiliar, particularly in rush hour traffic.
Thankfully my husband got me onto the MAPS ap on my phone and it worked a treat!!
Don’t know why I haven’t used it before.

So, I set off just after 07:15 and was sitting in the car park just after 08:00.
Think I’ll push it to 07:30 tomorrow and see what a difference 15 minutes makes to the traffic.

Don’t think I could have parked any closer!!
What a stunning place and grounds.

Putteridge Bury

Anyway, I soon found some familiar faces turning up and we went and did a little reccie before finding our room waiting for things to start.

We finally got to meet our two main tutors for the course. One of them wasn’t at the meet and greet a few weeks ago and she turns out to be a real character. Going to have a lot of laughs with her I think.

Turns out there’s a chance that official registration won’t be taking place until next week and without that it’s difficult to get any real work done.
With that said, I got lots of info today on Academic Writing.

Writing is the one thing I’m not really worried about although referencing is a completely foreign concept to me and I need to remember to do it as I go along and not try cramming it all in at the end.

When we found out our first essay is going to be 1500 words I was happilly surprised.
Over the last year I have found myself regularly writing between 1200 and 2200 words in fanfiction stories. I even have some bigger pieces of 11000 and 14000 words!!
My biggest issue is going to be the referencing and writing more formally.

Anyway, tomorrow will see us discussing similar subjects to get us into the studying mindset and we will be splitting into 2 groups to skip into the main Luton Campus and get fitted for our uniforms.
We will be getting some ‘old school’ printouts of work to be getting on with at home on Wednesday!
So a breather day and a chance to take it all in.

So, everything is falling into place and I just need to keep the ball rolling and keep on top of things and not leave it all to the last minute.

I feel much more relaxed now!!
Although that could have something to do with the rather large glass of Pinot I’ve just downed.