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Haylie Spark

Career Path: Registered Staff Nurse Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Hospitals Trust
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Haylie Spark

I worked in healthcare and wanted to become a nurse so in 2015 I enrolled in Northumbria university on the adult nursing degree. I studied at coach lane campus for 3 years and then graduated with a 1st in my degree. I then applied for my NMC pin and began working in a local hospital. I first worked on an outpatient department where my primary role was wound care and dressings. I loved the role but missed the routine and personal patient care which I experienced on placement wards. After 6 months I decided to transfer to a ward where a large part of my role was still wound care. I have now been on the ward for nearly a year and would not change a thing. My first 6 months on outpatients gave me lots of knowledge and skills that I could transfer to ward work so it was not as overwhelming learning every aspect of the ward care provided.

What are you doing now?

I plan on continuing to work on the ward I currently do. I have lots of interesting in-house training courses to complete this year. I am also exploring the options of doing a masters degree at Northumbria Univeristy as would love to continue my education.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

It was local to my home, job and support system of my friends and family. I also knew it had a good reputation for nursing courses. I personally knew lots of student nurses or qualified nurses who had studied at Northumbria so felt I had a network of true reviews.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? (eg. were there a mix of lectures, seminars, team projects? Was the feedback constructive?

There was a mixture of university learning and learning out in placements. The library was very accessible and had long opening hours which were handy near to essay deadlines. The clinical skills centre was well equipped to replicate the clinical settings we were working in. There were team working projects that were creative.

How connected was your course with industry?

50% of the course was placement time over the 3 years. Placements were in local hospitals and this developed into placements being available in the community, care homes and prison services. You are allocated a variety of different types of placements to enhance the range of skills your experiences taught you. It would be preferable to choose a final placement, however this was not possible previously.

If you took on a placement during your course how did you feel this helped you in your career/ with your studies?

It was crucial as most of learning to be a good quality nurse was taught in placement. You could observe good role models and aim to follow in their footsteps. You were able to practice clinical and communication skills on real patients in a real nursing team.

What was the best thing about your course?

The small GT groups that stayed the same for 3 years enabled you to make strong bonds with your peers. This meant you could make friends for life as you all completed the same assignments and had similar struggles so were able to support each other.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

It gave me the degree I needed to become a nurse but is also well known for creating good quality nurses so potential employers are impressed.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

All my nursing skills were learnt on the course and I use these daily inside and outside of work.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Meeting new people on placements and making friends through joining Northumbria societies.

What advice would you give somebody who is considering studying at Northumbria?

Go to an open day and look around the campus. Look on the my nsu website to see the variety of societies you could join as well.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Exciting, educational and tough.

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