Institute of Health - Nursing (Walsall & Burton) Updates

Tue 22 Jun 2021

Summer is approaching...

Summer...most students are in placement and preparing for PAD submission and then some much needed annual leave, September third year cohorts are preparing to qualify, and some of our students are in theory and preparing to start placement soon.

Whatever stage you are at, I have no doubt in saying that the pandemic will have impacted upon your training in some way, and that it has gone on for a lot longer than any of us anticipated.

However, the stages of lockdown lifting are progressing (albeit with a little delay from the last announcement), and some areas of life are returning to normal (or the new normal).

It is easy to become bogged down with stress and the challenges of daily life, especially as student nurses with so many things to juggle and so many plates to keep spinning.

Please remember that you are not alone, and always reach out for help if you need it.


One thing that I'm trying recently is to find the positive thing each day - that one thing that made me smile or laugh, or laugh until I cried. It doesn't have to be anything big - it can be something really small and seemingly insignificant. Today my positives are: my cat has learnt how to play fetch (he thinks he is a dog!) and I will be training our brand new 121 course reps later today.

So reach out, share a funny story or something that made you smile today.

You never know, telling someone else your positive thing could make them smile.


Tue 25 May 2021

Semester 2 Council and More...

Hello :)

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying placement!

We recently held the Institute of Health Council for semester 2, so are currently working through the actions and escalating/resolving anything that was raised. As always, we will keep you updated with any development in relation to these. 

I'm continuing to work on some of the initiatives that I began working on at the beginning of the semester, as some are taking longer than originally anticipated. However, rest assured that I don't give up easily so will continue to work on them. 

We have a brand new cohort that recently started with us too, so a huge welcome to cohort 121! I enjoyed meeting you all during induction and look forward to training your course reps shortly. I'm also planning a session for your semester 2 launch in August so look forward to seeing you all again.

As restrictions are lifting, I hope you are all enjoying socialising again. I, for one, will never take those small moments with friends and family for granted again. 

As always, stay safe and remember to reach out for support if you need it. 

Any issues or queries, please feel free to get in contact with me.


Take Care,


Wed 21 Apr 2021

Good Luck and Well Done!

So it's time for me to do another blog post and this one is about all the things we have to look forward to...

It's that time in semester 2 where students are usually getting ready to sit exams and/or submit their final assignments of the academic year. I know that the third years are currently taking their OSCEs too. So for everyone that is waiting on grades or is due to sit assessments/submit assignments - good luck! I know that they usually come with a level of stress and anxiety about your grade; it's easier said than done, but once it's submitted please try and relax and forget about it until you receive your grades. Remember to give yourselves the credit you deserve for making it this far, and with a pandemic to contend with. 

It's just 2 weeks until the SU Awards evening! Well done to everyone that has been nominated for an award, and thank you to those who nominated me. Whether you've been nominated for an award, win the award, or even if you haven't received a nomination - well done! Well done for taking a step at a time closer to your degree and career.

I hope that our 220 cohort, and all of the other students in practice, are enjoying their placements and learning lots! 

I also want to say Welcome to our brand new 121 cohort that started recently. It was lovely to meet some of you in the session I hosted last week.

We recently held the Semester 2 Institute of Health Council meeting, so the minutes and actions of that will be released soon and the relevant follow up work will be completed to ensure that all feedback has been addressed.

Lastly, a little mention for our 218 students that are approaching qualification! You've made it so far with various challenges (even prior to the pandemic) and I'm so proud of each and every one of you. I can't wait to see you all in your blues very soon!


Carrie :) 

Sat 03 Apr 2021

Easter Update

Hello everyone!

I hope you're all doing well and enjoying this bit of nice weather we seem to be having.

I'm due to start annual leave  for a week so wanted to update my blog before I do.

I'm still continuing to work with the course reps on resolving issues, answering queries, and offering support where needed. I'm also continuing to work with the SU and the academic staff on a range of ideas that we hope to make reality soon.

I was asked earlier in the week why I chose to study nursing and, in doing some self reflection, I realised that we all have a unique story as to our experiences, our circumstances, and our reasons for doing what we do. So here is a little insight into mine:

When I was 14, my dad became unwell with, what was later diagnosed as, liver disease and liver cancer. After undergoing a lot of investigations and consideration of a range of treatment option, it was determined that his condition was terminal, and he passed away when I was 15. Six months later, shortly after my 16th birthday, my mom became unwell and had to be ventilated for 2 weeks; the team caring for her didn't think she would survive. However, my mom is rather stubborn and, while she was left with a range of health issues, she survived and made it home in time for Christmas that year. 

Now I know this sounds rather sad and, of course, at the time I was devastated and experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. However, this period in my life changed my perspective on a lot of things and, in many ways, changed the course of my life completely. I witnessed the care that the CSWs, nurses and doctors (and all of the other individuals involved) provided for my dad and my mom. I was also touched by the extra care they took to involve me, keep me updated, and the fact that they wanted to know more about my parents as people. I recall a student nurse assisting to care for my mom when she was sedated, who would spend so much time talking to me wanting to know about my mom's life and her character. These key individuals inspired me to want to be able to make that difference for others, and this is what began my nursing journey.

Finishing school, completing my A levels, several jobs, and a back injury resulting physiotherapy and accupuncture all delayed my nursing journey. But here I am - a third year student nurse due to qualify in around 18 months to undertake a career that means the world to me.

My story is a lot longer and more complex than I've written here, but I've told you enough to illustrate this:

You will have difficult days, and times when you consider quitting. You may have days when you wonder why you started this journey, or may think you'll never get to the end. Make sure you remember the reason you started your journey. Remember that at one point, you would have given anything to be where you are now. Take it a day at a time, step by step, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps you could write down the reasons you're on this journey, or your goals for completing the course. Perhaps you could create an inspiration board or something similar. Whatever works for you, just make sure that on your difficult days or when you need a little `pick-me-up`, have something you can turn to to remind yourself of just how far you've come and how hard you've worked to get here, and why it will all be worth it in the end.


So that's my little bit of advice for you today - remember why you're doing it, and don't give up!

Finally, I'd like to wish cohort 220 good luck for starting their placements next week. I have every faith that you'll all be amazing!

For those of you who celebrate it, Happy Easter!

I'll speak to you all when I return from annual leave on 12th April.


Carrie :) 

Tue 09 Mar 2021

To the student nurses in placement, or about to start...

Hello :)

It's time for my next blog update and I've spent the last few weeks reflecting on my current placement experiences, and my overall journey so far as a student nurse. As part of this, I wanted to share a little something with you all:

When I talk to many students and course reps, it's sometimes easy for you to forget that your school reps are also students. This is one of the many reasons why we are so passionate about ensuring that your voices are heard - because, quite often, our opinions and experiences are shared, and we can often relate to what you are going through. With this is mind, I have been where you are now and one of my favourite things is sharing what I have learnt with other students.

I also want to let you into a secret - while I may share knowledge and experience with you, you share your passion and excitement with me. Whenever I speak to students, particularly first and second years, I am reminded of the hopeful optimism and the sheer excitement that I had as an inexperienced first year, seeing the third years and thinking I will never be able to do what they do. Now, I am a third year doing what those third years were doing, and edging ever closer to qualifying as a nurse. 

For the first years that are so excited to start placement - never forget the passion and enjoyment that you currently have. It is easy to become bogged down with assignment deadlines and worrying about completing enough practice hours. Please don't ever lose that passion, that enjoyment and that excitement for new learning opportunities.

For the first years that are nervous about starting placement - those nerves show that you care and want to do well. You may well be terrified when you arrive for your first day, but I promise that you will learn so much and the good moments make the bad days so worth it!

For the second years - you are half way there! There will be good days and bad days, but it will all be worth it in the end.

For the second year nursing associates - you're so close to qualifying! 

For the third and fourth years due to qualify this year - you are so close! Many of you have now got job offers, and I'm so proud of each and every one of you. I can't wait to see you in your blues and hear all about your first days and weeks and newly qualified nurses.

For the third year MNurs students - I see you. The majority of our cohort will graduate this year, with us having an extra year to complete. We are three quarters of the way there, and will soon be registered and starting our newly qualified nursing journeys.

As nursing students, we often have to sacrifice a lot to achieve the career that we dream of. It can be stressful and daunting, and there may be days when you question if it is worth it. But... a patient's smile, or someone saying thank you, seeing that you've made a difference, or realising how far you've come - they all make it worth it. Remember that not too long ago, you would have given anything to be where you are now. We've all worked so hard to get to the point that we are at, wherever we are, and through a very difficult and trying time. I'm proud to be a student nurse, and proud to be the school rep for an incredible group of students! More importantly, you should all be so proud of yourselves for everything you've achieved to reach this point.

I hope you all enjoy your placements and learn a lot. If any of you are struggling, as always, please do not hesitate to reach out.

I think that's enough sentimentality for one day so I will leave you with a quote I found - unfortunately I do not know the original source of the quote but I thought it was apt:

"Forgive yourself, you are not perfect. Show yourself grace; you are still learning. Show yourself patience; you are on a journey". 


Carrie :)

Fri 19 Feb 2021

Isolation, University, Placement and more...

Hello everyone!

I hope that you're all doing well and staying safe.

I'm writing this update to you from self-isolation following contact with someone who was later confirmed as testing positive for covid. Luckily, I'm not symptomatic so I'm trying to keep myself busy (which isn't difficult as a nursing student and school rep!). So while it is frustrating to be missing placement, it is for others' and my own safety. Instead, I'm keeping myself busy with university work, revision, school rep work, and housework (and some down time too).

I am continuing to work on the plans and initiatives that we began in semester 1, and hope to have further updates for you soon. Most of the logs from the council meeting in November have been completed, and I will be following up next week on any that haven't. We also now have the date for our semester 2 council meeting.

I have my regular meeting with the course leads next week, which is always a wonderful opportunity for us to check in, catch up, and make some exciting plans for our continued working relationships!

The NMC have also released some additional recovery standards guidance this week, which may mean some positive changes in the near future as the implementation becomes clearer. 

Thank you to all of my reps that have been in touch, and continue to support me in my role. As always, if any of you need support, guidance, advice, or just someone to talk to, I'm only ever an email away.

Stay safe!


Carrie :) 

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Sun 31 Jan 2021

Semester 1 Summary

Hello all,

I'm not quite sure how we are in semester 2 and 2021 already - I feel like time is going by so fast!

2020 was a difficult year for everyone, and certainly added challenges for student nurses. So far, it seems that some of those challenges are going to continue into 2021. However, I am so proud of each and every one of you that continues to juggle your personal responsibilities, university work, placement, employment, and the other various commitments we all have. We will be a generation of nurses that can say we trained during a pandemic, and we overcame every obstacle to succeed. Every single one of you has played a crucial role throughout, whether that be through placement, opting in, working bank shifts, or supporting your loved ones and colleagues throughout. I'm sure we can all agree that the whole experience continues to teach us a lot about ourselves, our peers and our loved ones, and I share in the hope that we will soon return to some form of normality.

Throughout semester one, it has been wonderful to meet so many students (albeit virtually). Thank you for your continued support and understanding throughout the time since I began my role. I would also like to thank all of the wonderful course reps that continue to find new and innovative ways to engage with their cohorts, and maintain the support they provide, despite not being able to meet physically. I hope to soon be meeting many of you in placement areas or, better yet, for a coffee on campus. However, until that is possible, remember that you are not alone and there are many services available to you if required, so please reach out for support.

Throughout semester 1, we received a lot of feedback from students, highlighting both concerns and positive elements. Thank you for continuing to raise these with me to enable me to work with the university academics to bring about positive change, and credit appreciation where it is deserved. 

Semester 1 Progress:

  • Regular meetings between myself and the course leads to maintain open communication channels to escalate concerns and highlight positive feedback.
  • Monthly meetings between the course leads and course reps at Walsall Campus.
  • Development and publication of a contact signposting list to help students to rectify issues/queries - this is available via CANVAS.
  • The introduction of yellow background name badges enabling them to be easily read by service users.
  • An increase of the uniform allowance for students.
  • Development of a "Preparation for practice/what to expect in placement" session for first year students due to attend placement - this was really well received with lots of positive feedback so will now be implemented for future cohorts too!
  • Discussions to increase the support provision for students with hopes that this will soon be implemented.
  • Building increasingly proactive working relationships between the school reps, course leads, heads of nursing and other academics, to continue the progress we have made so far.
  • Improvements based upon student feedback where needed, and positive feedback sent to the relevant individuals/teams to show appreciation.

Next Steps:

Throughout semester 2 and beyond, we plan to continue to build upon the developments we have made so far. We have lots of ideas to implement but if you have any ideas that you think would benefit your cohort and others, please contact me via email to discuss them. Please keep an eye out for developements regarding our ideas/initiatives as we hope to share news of them soon!

The Student Union award nominations will be opening soon, so get thinking about your peers, course reps or academic staff that you feel deserve recognition!


Thank you for taking the time to read my semester 1 summary, and I will provide another update soon.
Whether you are currently in placement or theory, please make sure you take some time for self-care. As always, please get in touch if there is anything I can do to support you.

Thank you again for your continued hard work!


Carrie :) 


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