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Nursing as an international student

To celebrate International Nurses Day (12 May) we caught up with current international student, Glister, who is studying the BSc (hons) Mental Health Nursing at UON and is currently in her second year. We asked her why she chose to study nursing in the UK and what it is like experiencing the profession from an international background.

Glister at the University of Northampton Waterside Campus

“l chose to study Mental Health Nursing because it is a part of nursing that I am very passionate about. Mental health is something that is much more widely understood than it has been in the past and people are starting to understand just how important it is. On a personal level, I lost someone very close to me due to a mental health illness and so I wanted to make it my life goal to ensure others do not have to experience this too. I am driven by a need to bring change to others who might be going through the same situation.

When you study a subject such as Nursing in a new country everything seems new. You have unfamiliar polices, and procedures and acts to follow that are different to the policies you might be used to in your home country. Luckily, to deal with this change the University of Northampton supports us both academically and offers counselling services too if we need to use them. This makes me feel reassured that if I am ever feeling concerned or worried I have somewhere I can go to receive the support I need.

I wasn’t too familiar with the NHS when I came to the UK as this is not something we have in Africa. I had heard of it but I have to be honest I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I have been so inspired by it as a healthcare system and have loved being able to take placements under its name. It is not the same in other countries and even though the British can sometimes be quite negative about the NHS, I so far have seen a lot of the good in the system and feel very proud to learn its values and practice under its name.

Nursing as a job does differ a lot compared to my home country. For example, looking at the capacity in my country, we do not let patients choose the care they need, we do what we think is best. In contrast, nurses in the UK seem to be able to provide much more flexibility in treatments and put the patient at the centre of everything, making them more involved in decisions. That is something we should not take for granted.

I love being a nurse because I feel highly respected in the community and in a new country. It gives me a sense of purpose and also a sense of belonging here. I have a duty of care when on placements and working with patients but I love that responsibility and the belief I am making a positive difference to people’s lives.

For me, I will always feel amazing knowing that I am accountable and responsible for someone else’s care. It reassures me I have chosen the right career path and will take that passion with me throughout my working life. Whether I choose to stay and work in the UK or take up nursing back in my home country, the patients will always come first and that will never change.”

The University of Northampton teaches a number of Nursing pathways. To find out more please click here.

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