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.

From biotechnology to quality of life

Written by Yinyin Phyo, IMPACCT Trials Coordination Centre Research Assistant

As a Master of Philosophy in Medical Biotechnology student, my original focus was on lab-based science. Although I was exposed to the concepts of clinical trials and public or social health, these were not deeply explored but had piqued my interest, as I wanted to bridge the gap in my knowledge between science and health.

I was interested in directly connecting with health care professionals and patients to explore their experiences, which would not have been possible in a lab. When the opportunity came along to complete an honours project with the UTS Faculty of Health’s Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation (IMPACCT) research centre, I was really excited to be exposed to this different area of research. The research focused on a patient’s quality of life and symptom improvement or management, rather than jumping straight into searching for a cure or looking at samples under a microscope. 

For my honours project, I focused on investigating the different perspectives of health care professionals and patients in secondary constipation, resulting from underlying medical issues or medications. Although an extremely common problem, there is no standardised criteria to assess for constipation, and there is no universal definition of it as it is a highly subjective experience.

There is also a stigma around constipation as it can be a difficult thing to talk about both for patients and health care professionals. As a result, constipation is often poorly understood, underdiagnosed, and underestimated, leading to inadequate assessments or diagnosis by health care professionals and minimal treatment satisfaction from patients.

Due to COVID-19 disruptions to my data collection, I was required to complete an additional project. Therefore, my thesis comprised of two parts: a survey that focused on a palliative care population and their experiences of constipation, as well as a systematic review.

Each study found differing perspectives and experiences of what constipation was. There were inconsistencies in terminology, clinical assessment, and symptom considerations. I found that using strategies that base a clinician’s assessment on a patient’s subjective experience, considering treatment beyond laxatives and diet, and further training or education are essential for effective care in clinical practice and reducing any barriers to communication. 

My transition from medical biotechnology to focusing on quality of life has been a rewarding one so far. Overall, I achieved a High Distinction for my thesis, while the survey component is still ongoing until June 2022 to collect more patient data.

I would like to thank my supervisors, Professor Meera Agar, Dr Rayan Saleh Moussa, Professor Katy Clark and Dr Catherine Burke, as well as Linda Brown, PaCCSC/CST National Manager, and Paul Byrne, Statistician, who provided immense support throughout this project.

Find out more about study opportunities with IMPACCT

5 tips for studying online

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

Studying online may be convenient but can present its own challenges, with constant distractions, spotty connections and Zoom fatigue being on the top of a long list of struggles. Fortunately, there’s some things you can do to make it better!

Here’s my top 5 tips for studying online:

1. Create a routine

I find creating a daily and even weekly routine keeps me on track and helps me avoid the distractions of my phone, snacks, and TV. If I keep my diary close by, I am often much more accountable and productive.

2. Take breaks – find your 30!

Take breaks, stand up, get moving! Being a sport and exercise science student, this has become a habit of mine that I am extra conscious about while studying and working from home.

I try to stand once an hour and get at least 30 mins of activity in each day as per the physical activity guidelines!

3. Stay hydrated

It is so easy to forget to hydrate, but this is so important for our health and brain function. I keep a bottle close by, and I use filling it up as a cheeky break from the desk too!

4. Change it up!

Staring into a screen all day from the one chair can get so boring! I try to make sure I move around during the day, even if I take my laptop with me. Some of my favourite tips are to create a standing desk or move outside for some time to make sure you get your daily dose of vitamin D!

5. Create a nice space with natural light

Clear desk = clear mind, right? This tip has been so valuable to me throughout my studies. It makes it so much easier to concentrate without the distraction of a mess; and natural light provides clarity and can be refreshing. 

Learn about studying Health at UTS

Why you should try new sports as a Sports and Exercise student

Written by Lara Ralph, UTS Sport and Exercise student

Working as a Sport and Exercise professional, it can be extremely valuable to have knowledge across disciplines. Here’s my top 3 reasons to try new sports/fitness programs throughout your degree:

1. To know what it is like to be a rookie/novice at something

As sport and exercise students, we all have certain sports or fitness activities that we excel in. However, throughout your career you will likely come across people who are new to something and only just at the beginning of their learning.

This could include an older adult attending a gym for the first time, a young person undertaking a new sport or a rehabilitation patient learning (or re-learning) a new skill. In each of these cases, to better empathise with the client it is critical that the practitioner understands themselves what it is like to be a rookie.

The only way to experience this – challenges, failure, persevering with a smile, and a couple laughs – is by throwing yourself into something new every now and then, so why not have a go? 

2. Better relate to future clients, due to the widespread experiences you have acquired

The more you experience, the more you learn… and the more you learn, the more you know! By expanding your own scope of sport and fitness, you will be able to relate to a greater number of people throughout your career.

As a practitioner, your future patients may come from a range of sporting backgrounds and the best way to tailor your treatment is to know more about their sport and the demands it places on the body.

Never tried CrossFit before? Try out a CrossFit workout. Not only will you gain a greater understanding of what it entails, but you will also get a great workout along the way!

3. It is a great way to see your course content in action and enrich your understanding

Throughout your sport and exercise degree, you will learn about an extensive range of concepts around movement and training. With this, each concept will vary with what areas of sport/exercise it best applies to.

By expanding your sporting and fitness experience, you will get to see how concepts arise in different contexts – thereby improving your understanding of course content overall. So, whether you are Team Anaerobic or Team Aerobic when it comes to fitness, have a go at something from the opposite discipline.

Swap your morning run for a morning resistance training session or vice versa – at the end of the day it’s all about increasing the scope of your learning as wide and far as you can!

Find out more about studying Sport and Exercise at UTS