4 things I wish I knew before studying Nursing

Written by David Ada and Kavya Reji, UTS Nursing students

University isn’t always what you expect, and the reality can surprise you in the best (and sometimes not ideal) ways! We asked two of our Nursing student ambassadors about what they wished they knew before studying Nursing.

Clinical placements are a huge part of the degree!

“Apply the skills and theory you have learnt from your tutorials and practical labs to your clinical placements.

As part of the Bachelor of Nursing degree, UTS provides 840 hours of clinical placement in public hospitals, private hospitals, and not-for-profit organisations. Clinical placements allow you to immerse yourself into the real world of what it’s like working as a nurse, as well as interacting with patients and staff from multidisciplinary teams.” – Kavya Reji

“Try to get your driver’s licence ASAP so you can attend afternoon placements, as there are sometimes no public transport options available when you finish!

When you are on placement, you will be standing 90% of the time. Make sure that you are comfortable on your feet, so invest in boujee shoes like Dr. Scholl’s or New Balances!” – David Ada

Ensure your documentations and vaccinations are up to date!

“Nursing is a practical-heavy subject, and sometimes uploading your documents for placement can take weeks. Ensure you are booking appointments with your GP to check if you’re due for a Hep B booster shot or your annual flu vaccine booster shot!” – David Ada

Image by Unsplash

Make use of the Clinical Practice Labs

“If you need to brush up on any clinical skills, the Clinical Practice Lab have you covered on mastering anything from administering medication, to conducting respiratory assessments, to practicing using a sphygmomanometer. Practice makes perfect, and there’s always clinical staff to guide you if you ever find yourself stuck.” – Kavya Reji

Join clubs and societies

“Want to connect with your peers? Join the Nursing and Midwifery Society (NaMSoc) and meet your Nursing and Midwifery peers! NaMSoc hosts various events from Welcome Drinks to the annual NaMSoc Ball, as well as free Nursing and Midwifery related seminars. NaMSoc offers various networking opportunities, and you’ll certainly make some lifelong friends.” – Kavya Reji

Learn more about studying Nursing at UTS.

Get to know a Midwifery student

Written by Hanwa Fahme, UTS Bachelor of Midwifery student

What inspired you to do your degree?

Coming from a big family, I used to love it when my aunties and mum would talk about pregnancy. The main experience that pushed me into choosing midwifery was when a midwife visited my mum at home to check up on her after giving birth to my youngest brother.

The midwife sat down with me, taught me about her profession, and made me fall in love with the idea of being a midwife. As a result, I knew from the young age of 14 what I wanted to do!

What are your career plans and goals?

My career plans are to become a registered midwife and eventually work my way up into becoming a clinical educator in a hospital! This is a true goal, as I can help students in the ways that my educators helped and assisted me!

What is your favourite subject so far?

So far it would have to be “Complex Labour, Birth, and Puerperium”. This is a subject in the Spring session of our second year. I particularly enjoyed it because I was able to do my clinical placement at a Level 6 tertiary hospital – which takes in a lot of high risk and complex cases.

The subject was amazing, as it solidified my content knowledge to ensure that I enter clinical placement well prepared, and that I can understand what the midwifes are talking about during handover and patient care.

What’s your best advice for managing your work, study, and social commitments in this degree?

For me, it’s all about time management and planning. It is very easy to continue to have work and a social life whilst studying. I do this by setting out certain time periods during the week where I focus solely on completing uni work – so I’m not procrastinating.

This lets me know when I have time to hang out with friends and plan social events. Another thing is scheduling out when I have assessment tasks due and being prepared for my classes! I make sure I have this in an accessible place, like on my laptop or on top of my study desk, to make sure that I’m never late on handing anything in.

What’s it like to be a student at UTS?

Being a student at UTS is quite fun! We have so many clubs and societies you can join (that are separate to your degree) that make you want to come into uni more often.

You also get to meet so many new people from different genders, backgrounds, races, and ages, and see a whole new perspective of certain things. This is what’s needed to allow for more positivity and gratitude in your life.

Our location is also incredible when maintaining your social life and exploring new places. As it is 5 minutes away from Central Station, it’s a great way to meet up with friends and take a nice walk when wanting to de-stress!

Find out more about studying Midwifery at UTS.

5 questions with a Health Science student

Written by Emma Campbell, UTS Health Science student

What inspired you to study your degree?

Throughout year 12 I kept changing my mind about uni courses, right up until the last round of offers. I chose a Science/Maths double degree at a different university and was anxious about what careers it would lead me to, so I withdrew from the course. 

The next year I knew I wanted a degree that encompassed health, working with people, and kept my options open for careers, so the Bachelor of Health Science was the perfect fit. Since then, I have fallen in love with the course, and know that this was always the degree for me. 

What are your career plans or goals?

I enjoyed epidemiology and public health, so I hope to do a Master of Public Health. I would love to be a public health officer or do anything within the field.

I loved maths and biology so the idea of utilising data to improve health seemed such a perfect fit for me. The notion that allied health can better the health of individuals whilst public health can better the state of the systems to better communities is so powerful, and I would just love to be a part of that.

What’s it like to be a student at UTS?

It’s an unreal experience. In Health Science we only take around 150 students per year and have most of our subjects together as a cohort throughout the degree. You get to know other students and develop a relationship with tutors and course directors (something pretty rare for universities).

Our class sizes are only 20-25 in tutorials so it’s really engaging. The facilities themselves are amazing, from our plastic-free food court to state-of-the-art labs, it is truly world class. Even transitioning into online learning was relatively smooth and tutors ensured our learning wasn’t compromised as best they could.

What’s been your favourite subject so far?

Definitely ‘Introduction to Epidemiology’. I loved the maths, despite it only being multiplications and fractions! The best bit was analysing what the numbers actually mean, ultimately telling us communities’ state of health, as well as suggesting why that might be.

I loved how this paired with ‘Introduction to Public Health’ to utilise that data to push for better policy to improve the health of those communities. I also enjoyed ‘Social, Emotional and Psychological Wellbeing’ as it shone a new light onto how individuals are affected by their health and how we need to consider them at the forefront of decision-making.

What’s your best advice for managing your work, study, and social commitments in this degree?

Definitely get into a routine and stick to it! The health science workload is relatively easy to manage if you stay on top of it from the start of semester, so just make sure you don’t fall too far behind!

Online learning also taught me that sometimes forcing yourself to do work when you are really unmotivated can do more harm than good. I found that if my focus was lacking, I would just go for a walk or get a coffee and come back and smash out more work than if I made myself push through that block. 

Find out more about studying Health Science at UTS.

Things to consider if you’re thinking about changing careers to nursing

By Nancy Grimm-Tran, UTS Nursing student

“Am I too old to go to uni and become a nurse?”

Two years ago, when I was looking at changing careers to nursing, I spent many hours on my laptop, researching what I had to do. To save you time, here’s what I found out.

Learn more about the different roles and career pathways in nursing

Studying a Bachelor of Nursing at UTS will qualify you on completion to work as a Registered Nurse (RN). There are also other roles in nursing, including Assistants in Nursing, and Enrolled Nurses. Each role has different scopes of practice, and different levels of responsibility.

If you’re interested in becoming a midwife, this is a closely related but different role and career pathway.

Figure out your entry pathway and consider your options

If you’re keen to become a Registered Nurse, your journey may have a few steps, depending on your previous studies.

I had previously studied at university, with my last degree (a master’s degree) completed almost a decade prior, so I was considered a non-recent school leaver. I was admitted to the Bachelor of Nursing on the basis of my marks from my master’s degree.

If you haven’t studied at university, you may be looking at other options such as admission based on your ATAR (if you finished Year 12 studies) or completing the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) for admission to the Bachelor of Nursing.

I’ve met students who have chosen to qualify first as an Enrolled Nurse at TAFE, before they move onto studying the Bachelor of Nursing. This might be an option for you if you want to dive into working as a nurse ASAP (or perhaps even work while you study the Bachelor of Nursing!).

Plan ahead

The Bachelor of Nursing at UTS takes 3 years full-time (you can also study part-time as well). During that time, you’ll need to consider that you’ll need to take blocks of time to complete clinical placements – these are the periods where you go out to a healthcare facility (e.g., an aged care facility, a hospital ward, or community health settings). You’ll know roughly when the clinical placements will occur, thanks to the clinical ladder, but the exact dates will be confirmed during semester. You’ll need to be fully available every weekday during your placement block, so you might need to keep this in mind if you have work or family commitments.

Each subject will have a variety of assessments as well – they will vary depending on the subject, but might include quizzes during semester, written assignments, group assignments and final exams. It’s really important to know what assignments are due when, so you can plan your study – there can be some periods where you have a few assignments all due in the same week!

Being prepared makes your studies much more manageable and can help you plan ahead if you need to work while you study. I’ve been working in casual roles while I study and was upfront with my employers about my study commitments – they’ve been very supportive and flexible, and I’m really grateful. You can also look at options such as Centrelink support during your studies as well.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Finally, once you’re here at UTS, there are so many programs designed to support you in doing your best during your studies. Programs such as HELPS and UPASS are really helpful with improving your university study skills, and the people who run these programs know where the pain points are in the tricky subjects.

If you’re a parent or carer, or live with disability or chronic health conditions, there are support officers known as Academic Liaison Officers (ALOs) who are there to help you with adjustments for your studies to accommodate your conditions. For Nursing students, these adjustments may include provisions for your assessments and for your clinical placements. I’ve personally received support from the ALOs for Nursing and can confirm that they are lovely and really helpful!

Studying the Bachelor of Nursing has been a huge change in my life, and it has definitely had some very challenging moments and given me some stress. However, I really believe that it is all worth it to become a Registered Nurse – hopefully I will be there very soon! I’ll be in my mid-30s when I graduate, but I’m definitely not the oldest student – there are Nursing students of all ages here at UTS.

Hopefully we’ll see you here soon!

Learn more about studying Nursing at UTS

Life as a Sport and Exercise Science student

Written by Olivia Cicciari, Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science student

What’s it like studying Sport and Exercise Science at UTS? Get to know one of our Sport and Exercise student ambassadors, Olivia!

1. What inspired you to study your degree?

I chose to study a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science after representing NSW and Australia in Dragon Boat Racing. This experience allowed me to view the sport and exercise industry as an athlete. I’ve always been a “people person” and I find immense satisfaction in helping people to be the best that they can be.

I really wanted to be able to inspire, motivate and assist athletes in giving their “100%”, and help them reach new heights in their sporting journey. By studying sport and exercise science, I can combine my passion for sport and love of helping others, no matter what career path I choose to take.

2. What are your career plans or goals?

This degree is such an awesome pathway into so many careers. I don’t have my heart set on a specific career path currently, but I know that it will involve working in the high performance sport industry with elite athletes to help them achieve their sporting goals!

3. What’s it like to be a student at UTS?

Being a student at UTS is super exciting! There are so many opportunities for students to enjoy themselves as they complete their degree. There are many food and beverage outlets on the main campus, and space for you to study and chill with friends.

There are over 130 clubs and societies, so there is no doubt that you will find one that sparks your interest. They deliver heaps of events each year where students can engage, socialise, and meet like-minded people – so it is easy to feel a sense of belonging in the UTS community.

4. What’s been your favourite subject so far?

My favourite subject so far would have to be Exercise Physiology, which I completed in 2nd year. The exercise physiology lab is equipped with cycle ergometers, rowing ergometers, and treadmills, which were used in conjunction with specialist equipment used to test VO2 max, lactate threshold and blood pH.

I really enjoyed learning how to use all this equipment as it gives insight into the analytics of the industry and helps to develop laboratory skills related to professional practice which is extremely useful after graduation.

5. What’s your best advice for managing your work, study, and social commitments in this degree?

Expose yourself to as much of uni life as you can! Whilst your studies are super important, your uni experience will be so much more rewarding if you can find a work/life balance where you can excel in your studies and make connections with other students.

I would highly suggest signing up to one or more societies that are of interest to you or joining one of the many social or competitive sporting teams/clubs at UTS. I also recommend talking to other students within your degree as they are the people who will be working within the same industry as you post-university!

During these unprecedented times studying from home, I also recommend taking regular breaks away from your computer screen and engaging in an activity you enjoy!

Find out more about studying Sport and Exercise at UTS.

3 common myths about Exercise Science

Written by Tijana Sharp, UTS Bachelor of Sport and Exercise student

We often find people make assumptions about Exercise Science, and it’s time to quash some of those myths! Here are some of the top incorrect myths about Sport and Exercise Science:

1. Exercise scientists do the same job as personal trainers

Exercise Scientists have a University Bachelor’s degree, while personal trainers hold a Certificate III and/or IV in Fitness. While much of their knowledge might overlap, Exercise Scientists are equipped which more specific knowledge about the physiology of exercise and movement.

2. Exercise scientists only work with professional sporting teams

While there are many opportunities to work with professional sporting teams, the space for work with healthy populations as an exercise scientist is also huge! In this role you are able to assess, prescribe and deliver exercise programs to support general health and wellbeing. Helping people achieve their optimum health can be such as rewarding career!

3. Exercise science doesn’t lead you anywhere

It is quite the opposite! A degree like Sport and Exercise Science creates endless pathways in terms of careers and further study. Careers include work in professional sport and the health and fitness industry, as well as many pathways into further study, including the Master of Physiotherapy at UTS!

Find out more about Sport and Exercise at UTS

The Art of Nursing

Written by Aimee Lamb, Associate Lecturer (Nursing), Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney

Studying to be a nurse can be difficult at the best of times, but amidst a global pandemic, the complexities were magnified. Transitioning to online learning from what would normally be authentic, interactive, and face-to-face learning experiences was stressful for many students.

‘Zoom fatigue’ was common and, despite remarkably high student satisfaction scores, it was apparent that students’ motivation and enthusiasm for learning declined. Coupled with personal stressors, concerns about caring for COVID positive patients, and the social isolation that many students experienced, 2020 and 2021 created unprecedented challenges.

Against this background, a small group of academics from the UTS School of Nursing & Midwifery devised the Art of Nursing competition with the aim of boosting students’ engagement, motivation and sense of purpose. 

The Aim 

The Art of Nursing competition was designed to encourage and celebrate the creativity of nursing students, and to inspire their reflection on and deeper understanding of the meaning of illness, the impact of nursing care, and the experience of studying during a global pandemic.

Original artworks could be created using a variety of techniques including drawing, comics, painting, photography, poetry, literature or film. The artworks were to respond to the quotes below: 

“Nothing endures but change” Heraclitus 

“The new normal” OR “Now more than ever” 

The Response 

The judging panel was overwhelmed with the quality of the artworks submitted. The feedback from Professor Tracy Levett-Jones, Head of School, and member of the judging panel, echoed those of the other panel members (Natalie Govind, Judy Smith and Natalie Cutler):

The quality of the artwork was outstanding, but the significance and stories took our breath away! I won’t ever forget Daniel’s short film and Laura’s graduation image. The challenges faced in 2020-2021 were brought to life in the images and were so moving.

The artwork depicting the impact of COVID on patients’ experiences were also thoughtful and beautiful. That said, all of the artwork were all unique and powerful and I know they will capture the imagination of everyone who sees them.” 

Although the standard of all entries was very high, the three finalists were:  

1st Place: Daniel Sheppard 

2nd Place: Dilara Unal                            

3rd Place: Joo Ying Maureen Tan 

We have been inspired by the Art of Nursing competition and we hope to make it an annual event at UTS SONM.

5 questions with a Midwifery student

Written by Hannah Nouri, UTS Bachelor of Midwifery student

1) What is it like studying a Bachelor of Midwifery at UTS?

Midwifery is a passionate course. When studying midwifery, you get to know the ins and outs of the mechanics of birth, and all of the science around it.

You also really get to learn and solidify your clinical skills, especially in placement, that ensure you provide the best possible care.

Finally, you learn the social justice issues that surround midwifery and birth. It is such a great privilege to be able to make a positive impact on a woman and child’s life going forward, and you can’t be a midwife without being a feminist!

2) How did you research your current degree?

Like lots of people, in year 12 I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do when I got to uni. I knew my areas of interest, I particularly liked science, maths, and legal studies in school.

Naturally I felt inclined to something in the medical field, where I could combine the scientific and clinical knowledge, with skills and application in justice. Which is how I landed on midwifery!

What really made me decide to go here and gave me the greatest insight into UTS and other unis, was events like Open Day and Info Sessions. If you’re not sure where you want to go or what to study, I’d suggest checking out the UTS website for any events happening soon.

3) How did you find the transition to uni? Did you go to orientation or use any support services?

Before I came to UTS I did a gap year program called Year 13, where I studied a Certificate in Theology. I think that this helped me immensely in transitioning to uni, as it allowed me to get used to the skills needed for studying and collaborating with other students.

However, I would say that uni is much easier than the HSC in terms of study load. You’re only in classes for around 12 hours a week, depending on your course, compared to ~40… and you’re hopefully doing something that you love!

Orientation is a really great way to get to know the uni and the services available to you, and your lecturers will help transition you in first year to the study pattern and lifestyle at UTS. I’ve used almost every support service at UTS and can 100% recommend them: they’re there to help you (and they’re free!).

4) What’s the best thing about studying Midwifery at UTS?

The best thing about studying midwifery at UTS is the incredible community you develop with your peers. It is always so refreshing to come back from placement and be able to share and reflect on your stories/experiences with like-minded students and staff who care so passionately about caring for women in pregnancy.

There is never a dull moment in midwifery, and I have never had any trouble working in groups because people are so genuine and caring!

5) What advice would you give to students considering studying Midwifery?

If you are considering midwifery, make sure that it is really what you want to do. For the next 3 years it will be all that you do, and when you graduate, you will only be qualified to practice as a midwife.

Midwifery doesn’t offer the flexibility of other courses, but what it lacks there it makes up for in the wonderful nature of the course.

Find out more about studying Midwifery at UTS.

Shifting from Nursing to Public Health

Written by Kavya Reji, UTS Master of Public Health student

As a recent Nursing graduate and a current Master of Public Health student, I have always been passionate about making a difference in the lives of patients as well as helping the broader community.

The immersion of hands-on experience and clinical placements provided through the Bachelor of Nursing degree ignited my interest towards community health.

Even through the insightful nursing knowledge and experience gained from my undergraduate degree, this paved my passion for empowering communities and enhancing healthcare solutions on a population level.

This led me to the Master of Public Health where I felt this degree was a perfect opportunity to hone my health promotion, health policy, epidemiology, and data entry skills.

I found that applying my nursing knowledge was highly beneficial to the Master of Public Health degree especially with delving further into specific diseases, health promotion programs and researching various populations.

The Master of Public Health at UTS offered as a part-time load, suited well with my ongoing work schedule.

The degree is delivered fully online, and I found that with effective time management skills, the content and assessments are easily manageable.

There are also many helpful people from Subject Coordinators to Student Success Advisors who are very supportive and readily available with providing academic support and course progression assistance, so you are never left on your own.

5 ways to thrive in group work

Written by Tanya Topham, UTS Bachelor of Nursing student

Although group work can be seen as a daunting task, there are many ways to improve your overall experience. Here are the 5 methods that have allowed me to flourish in group work activities.

1. Schedule group meetings in advance and write notes during the meetings

By scheduling your group meetings in advance, members of your group can mark out their calendars, thereby preventing non-attendance at meetings. Scheduling and attending routine meetings can allow you to track how much work has been completed by each group member. Writing notes during group meetings, otherwise known as ‘minutes’, is an effective way to reflect on key points voiced.

2. Know your group members strengths

Knowing the skills of your group members is important when assigning roles. Your group members may have different skills in research, multimedia, essay writing, and proofreading, so it is important to gauge every individual’s skills in the first meeting.

3. Assign roles in advance

By delegating assessment roles in advance, members of the group will be able to begin working on their section of the assignment, thereby potentially avoiding procrastination. Additionally, team members will be able to clarify their assigned section of the assessment well before the assessment due date.

4. Use collaborative tools and encourage group members to voice their concerns

By using collaborative tools, such as co-authoring documents, you may be able to gauge the amount of work each group member has completed. Using co-authoring documents may allow for easier proofreading and drafting, as all members would be able to edit the document. It is also important to encourage group members to voice their queries or concerns, as not addressing such queries and concerns sooner may lead to disarray and procrastination.

5. Set a draft and completion date well before the formal assessment due date

By setting early draft and completion dates, you may be able to avoid ‘cramming’ work. Setting an earlier draft and completion date may give team members ample to alter their work if needed before the formal assessment due date.

Learn more about studying Health at UTS.