Welcome to third year! Even though third year was tough times and there is a lot going on; third year was my favourite year as this is where I gained more confidence and flourished as a student. I recently qualified as a nurse and I am currently working in theatres and I can not believe how quick my final year as a student nurse went! It does feel like it will never come but one blink and you will be a qualified nurse.
The first semester of third year is a busy time with assignments, placement and trying to figure out what you want to write your dissertation on. It is important that you manage your time well but also make sure that you make time for yourself and your family, it sometimes does feel like your juggling a million plates, but you can do it! I found the way that I managed my time during this semester is to set a timetable for yourself each week and pinpoint when you can do work, when you are on placement and set some free time for yourself. Setting mini goals each week massively helped and kept me focused and motivated! I know there may not be face to face lectures at the moment but if you are at home doing online lecture and it’s for half a day, it does help to do some reading and to keep on top of things before going out on placement.
The second semester does calm down a lot and you are able to focus much more on the dissertation and also start writing it! It honestly does feel scary writing it, but your dissertation supervisor is there to support you and answer your questions no matter how silly you find them. You do have a placement in January/ February time, but it doesn’t feel as hectic as does in the first semester with the amount of work to do. This was also the time I started to apply for jobs, the University held a career fair in December time for third years which trusts from the surrounding areas attended and you could speak to them about what they offered regarding preceptorship and how to apply. The trust I applied for did nursing open days and I know that other trusts offer a similar option.; they will conduct interviews on the day and also speak to you what about they offer and gave the opportunity to speak to the chief nurses for each division. I also arranged a visit up to theatres as this was the area I wanted to be in as a NQN and spoke to the manager about the support they offer.
Then comes your final placement as a student nurse which solidifies and consolidates everything you have learnt on your clinical placements throughout the last three years! This is your time to shine and they won’t expect you to know everything but show them the amazing skills that you have gained!
Tips for Dissertation
I remember my first lecture for the dissertation module and I never felt more overwhelmed with the amount you have to do, I thought that I could never write 10,000 words but if I could do it you will be able to! You might find it crazy that I am saying this, but it was honestly my favourite module out of the three years. This is an area where you can write something that you are passionate about but also learn the skills on how to research and how they can be used in your future practice.
My tips are:
• Don’t panic if you are struggling to create a question. I struggled at first and found that doing mind maps, researching and reading around an area of interest allowed me to gain a topic focus and then led me to my question.
• Keep a notebook of notes on what you have read, the keywords for your literature review and the searches that you have completed to be able to see how you progress but also if you do lose anything you have some copy of what you have completed so far.
• Back up your work on to memory sticks, google drive or even send it to yourself on email the last thing you want to do is lose it.
• Get a good literature review book or two if you haven’t got one already! This will become your bible and will guide you through how to do it!
• Listen to your dissertation supervisor, they are there to support you but also listen to what they say with when you should have things written etc… as it will help in the long run.
• Plan, plan, plan I had completed a huge plan for each part of the dissertation, and it made things easier when writing as it had notes from books, papers and what the module outcomes was and kept me focused.
• Start early and set an earlier deadline. Starting early means that you can continually progress and rewrite your work. This is not a piece of work you can leave to the night before! Setting an early deadline will allow you to proof read your work, make sure that all the diagrams are in place and that your work looks neat and tidy.
• Treat yourself! This is what my dissertation supervisor told me to do when writing my dissertation, when you have completed your goal or written so much on your dissertation treat yourself to a chocolate bar or your favourite tipple!
Enjoy every minute of your final year before you know it you will be qualified! If anyone does have any questions I am always happy to answer!