Grace Duke – MSc Nursing (Adult) Haematology Nurse

I didn’t have any healthcare experience before starting my course. After my first degree I taught English in South Korea before I realised I was in the wrong job and I wanted to be a nurse. To get on the nursing course, I needed some healthcare experience. I volunteered in the hospital I now work in, and I’d often sit and talk with patients who had dementia. It was very rewarding and it reinforced how much I wanted to be nurse.

Our tutors were very passionate about ensuring we provide holistic care once we qualified. Seminars enabled us to have in depth discussion of course content.

With nursing, you can go down many routes. Our placements were around eight weeks long, time to get to know a placement area. I really loved some placements, while other areas were not for me. For example, working in operating theatres is very interesting, but it’s absolutely not for me as I’m very active and find it hard standing still. There are so many different areas to nursing, though – you can work in hospitals, the community, public health, research and academia.

I work as a haematology nurse in a regional stem cell transplant unit of a large cancer hospital. I qualified at the beginning of a global pandemic – nothing could really prepare me for that. I had to deal with the transition of going from student nurse to registered nurse, as well as the challenges that came with the pandemic. However, I’ve gained a lot more confidence.

Every shift is different, so nurses always prepare for the unexpected. We work closely with the multi-disciplinary team to provide individualised care for our patients. Shifts starts with the nurses handover: why the patient is in hospital; their cancer diagnosis; their past medical history; intravenous medicines, chemotherapy, when their stem cell transplant is due, and any other relevant issues. Handover is very important because without it we wouldn’t be able to care holistically for our patients.

Cancer patients are vulnerable. It’s incredibly rewarding just sitting with patients, listening to their fears and talking through their coping strategies. However, with the nature of cancer, it can be incredibly sad as well, and that’s hard to deal with.

Find out more about our Nursing (Adult) MSc

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