Working together, improving lives

August 2023

Student Spotlight: 10 Top Tips for Students Enrolling In Nursing and Healthcare Courses

It’s nearly time for the academic year to start once again, and students are descending on towns and cities across the UK, gearing up to embark on a Nursing or Health and Social care related degrees.

Firstly, if this is you, congratulations on beginning your higher education journey! The field of Health, Social care and Nursing can be challenging, but also extremely rewarding and fulfilling. To help you get the most out of your experience and to set yourself up for success, Dean Health and Social care have compiled ten top tips for students!

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1. Developing Study Habits
  1. The first, and perhaps most important, tip you should consider is how you create study habits that help you get the very best out of your time. Nursing and Health and Social care courses require diligent studying and as such, you should develop a schedule that suits your learning style. For example, you might want a structured routine with a set amount of time dedicated to reading, or you might be more comfortable using your time to inspect text books and create mind maps from your findings. Whatever it is, the key is to find what works for you and stick with it.

2. Asking Questions
  1. Throughout your degree you’ll meet people from a wide range of different Health and Social care environments with tons of unique perspectives from their experiences; be it a lecturer who has taught like-minded students for over a decade, a clinical lead Nurse who manages patient care, an ex-student that has completed your course or a Home Manager with lots of responsibility and hands-on awareness. Utilise their experiences and ask questions at every opportunity. You’re accountable for your own learning, and being able to refer to other people’s perspectives can help support your studies and enable you to make better, more conscientious decisions.

3. Foster Communicative Skills
  1. Good communication in the field of Nursing and Health and Social care is vital. As a student, you may be presented with situations where strong communication skills can have a big impact. In a placement opportunity where you support people who might find it difficult to share their personal thoughts and feelings, you are going to need to be capable of communicating. Being able to respond to others’ needs in a matter that makes them feel comfortable is a key skill. Secondary to this, the ability to communicate will enable you to make more decisive actions and promote confidence and professionalism too.
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4. Being Professional

  1. On the topic of professionalism, it’s important to present yourself as competent, experienced and efficient. You’ll be responsible for people with unique support needs and it’s important to demonstrate a level of respect, integrity and accountability as you care for them. Additionally, being professional in a care environment could present exciting employment opportunities, before you’ve even completed your degree, as those in the industry see your skills in action or hear about your working practise from their peers.

5. Develop Resilience

  1. An important part of a student’s journey into Nursing and Health and Social care is the ability to develop a sense of resilience. You will need resilience whilst studying, for example, when continually learn new things and finding ways to feel less and manage mental fatigue, as well as when you qualify in managing stress and handling difficult situations appropriately. It’s important to create a work-study-life balance that supports your mental and physical health.

6. Creating A Peer Network

  1. A great way to alleviate symptoms of stress, and to promote good wellbeing is to form a study group or peer support network. Being able to share experiences with likeminded individuals who are also undertaking Nursing and Health and Social care related courses can not only benefit your state of mind, but it’s a great way to create long lasting friendships too! You’re also far more likely to think critically and apply this to your own practise as you resonate with one another’s knowledge of the sector.

7. Critical Thinking

  1. Nursing and Health and Social care requires quick and accurate decision-making. Perhaps someone has fallen and you need to use your knowledge of manual handling to support them quickly, or you need to respond to a situation that is beyond your control. Whatever the situation may be, developing critical thinking skills by analysing complex scenarios, considering various options and making informed choices based on evidence is fundamental and a great example of a good Health and Social care professional. It’s important to remember that passing tests in Health and Social care, isn’t just about learning information, it’s about consequence and action too.
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8. Always Attend Class
  1. For many students, it’s possible to miss a lecture or study session from time to time due to a number of factors, and while in some cases this may be unavoidable, for example, working patterns, it shouldn’t become a habit. It’s important to attend your lectures so that any information presented is learnt, rather than having to play catch up when you can, which might result in unnecessary stress. Attending these classes not only means you’re informed about all there is to learn, but you will also be more ‘qualified’ and safe in your practise too. Additionally, these classes are a great resource and allow for debate and opinion, providing you with a deeper level of learning that you can take to your practise.

9. A Notebook Is Your Best Friend

  1. It might sound like a silly point to make, but so many students don’t realise how important it is to remember to write something down. In the context of a lecture, your notebook is your best friend when it comes down to jotting necessary and important information. When on placement, a notebook is a great way to scribe what other Health and Social care professionals might have mentioned to you – a good example of hands-on experience and evidence in the field - that could be used to support your own thoughts and theories. Additionally, writing your own thoughts and feelings in a variety of different settings is a great way to express your considerations and the way your mind thinks about consequence and action and how you got to a final conclusion, allowing you to reflect and think more consciously as a result.

10. Seek Continuous Learning

  1. Education and learning doesn’t stop at the edge of campus, as a student you might be thinking, ‘how else can I possibly fit any more learning into my busy schedule?’, but there are a number of options! Consume learning through media, be it reading a relevant Nursing news website, such as articles in the Nusing Times or Royal College of Nursing, listening to podcasts that present real-world opinions from those in the sector, or even pursuing additional short courses or certifications that could bolster your future career opportunities. You could even sign up to work shifts around your studies with a great Health and Social care agency to gain real life experience and on the job learning! An advantage of studying in the field of Nursing and Health and Social care is that not all learning requires sitting and reading, and there are a plethora of ways to utilise learning in different ways, many of which are free and easily accessible.
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So there we have it, Dean Health and Social care’s ten top tips for students enrolling in Nursing and Health and Social care related courses. We hope the information provided to you is useful throughout your time as a student, and if you’ve enjoyed reading this blog, be sure to bookmark the page so you don’t forget it!

We’ve also created additional student spotlight blogs that can help to support your learning needs, including how to balance your work-study-life balance and opportunities to work whilst studying, which you can read here, as well as some insightful resources that we have curated to benefit your study including relevant websites, books and articles, which you can read here.