Rebecca is a fourth year nursing student from Alexandria in Scotland. She came to QMU via Clearing and has never looked back.
Note: the BSc (Hons) Nursing is now Master of Nursing (4-year integrated degree)
Tell us a little about yourself such as your hobbies/interests that are related or not related to your course of study
I’m quite an active person so I really enjoy rock climbing, yoga and going on walks around the beautiful city of Edinburgh. I’m a bit of a foodie so I love cooking and eating out. I also enjoy music and performance so I try to go to shows and gigs whenever I get a chance.
What attracted you to the BSc (Hons) Nursing course and QMU?
From a young age, I have always wanted to pursue a career in nursing, as I felt inspired by care that I have received from the nursing and health professional when I was a child.
When it came time to apply to universities, QMU really interested me as it offers an honours degree rather than a bachelors (who wouldn’t want an extra year of student life?) and I really like the fact that the class sizes were small. I went along to an open day at QMU and got a really good feeling about the uni. The staff were really welcoming and approachable and I could see myself studying there, so QMU became my first choice.
What was your experience of coming through the Clearing system?
I was not accepted to the courses that I had initially applied for and so I was due to begin a HNC at a college in Glasgow. However, a week or so after I receive my exam results I got a phone call from QMU offering me an informal interview and a place on the course. My mum came along with me to the interview, my place was confirmed and then we were taken on a tour of the student residences. Afterwards, I applied to SAAS and then applied for accommodation at QMU. I was worried that my SAAS funding wouldn’t come in on time and that I wouldn’t get a place in student residences, but it all worked out fine. Everyone at accommodation services and SAAS was really helpful. Considering I had to move from my family home into student residences in just three weeks, the experience was relatively stress free. The only issue I came across was that there were only double rooms available in the residences, which were slightly more expensive, but considering the time frame it was definitely not something to complain about. I actually enjoyed having a double bed and the extra room space.
Did you benefit from a bursary?
Yes, as a student from Scotland who wanted to study nursing, I was able to apply to Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for a bursary. I received a non repayable bursary of £6,578 per annum (£506 per month – which is also paid over the summer months). It’s slightly less (£4,934) during the final year as this a bit shorter with the year ending in May. The bursary is non means tested, so all students from Scotland who apply for the bursary will receive the same amount regardless of household income. It was massive help to receive the funding and I am very grateful to the Scottish Government for providing this level of support.
Why did you choose to study in Edinburgh/Scotland?
I wanted a new experience and was excited by the idea of independence. Edinburgh is an amazing city so I really liked the idea of living in Scotland’s capital.
Living Away from Home
What’s the best part about living in student residences?
In first year I lived in the student residences. It was a brilliant experience and I would 100% recommend living in halls for the first year of university life. It really helped me to make friends and I was able to learn how to be independent whilst also having a good support system around me. It was just so much fun.
Leaving home is a big change and moving into student residences made the transition from home to university life easier. QMU’s student residences are located right next to the academic building so everything that I needed was on hand. I could go to the library whenever I liked and I didn’t need to spend time and money travelling to class. The campus has nice grounds and is just a couple of minutes walk from Musselburgh train station. You can jump on the train and be in the centre of Edinburgh in just six minutes!
What are the top three items you brought to student residences that you wouldn’t be without?
- My favourite mug (I love tea).
Life in Edinburgh – what’s the best experience you’ve had so far in Edinburgh? Are there any hidden ‘gems’ you’d like to share?
The past two years I have spent the summer in Edinburgh. It was amazing living in the middle of the city for the Fringe. In summer 2017, I worked as a flyer for a few shows. I saw lots of shows (some amazing and others rather questionable) and met lots of interesting people. Every day was fun. For great food, I’d recommend the Chez Jules and Korean BBQ, and the Mouse Trap on Leith Walk is a really cool bar. If you like wandering and exploring, you’ll enjoy a walk to Dean Village. It’s a lovely quaint little village situated by the Water of Leith, but in the heart of the city.
Did you attend an Open Day? If so, was there any aspect of the University which made up your mind for you?
Yes, I just got a really good vibe from the university and liked the open plan layout and the fact that everything is accessible in one place.
What’s been the highlight of the course so far?
I have had some really great classes but the highlight of my course has been my 3rd year placement on a surgical high dependency ward.
Another great thing about studying nursing at QMU is the annual nursing ball and awards celebration, which is run by the Division of Nursing. It’s a fantastic event that really helps to inspire and motivate everyone, and also helps to create a feeling of belonging. The staff and students go all out – we get dressed up, have dinner, enjoy a bit of dancing and take part in award ceremony. The main focus of the event is to celebrate our progression, mark the success of some key students, and recognise some of the health professionals in the NHS who have helped support our learner journey. Each year the 4th year nursing students make a video to mark their final year which is screened to everyone at the ball. This year, I’ve been nominated at ‘Best Undergraduate Student’ so I’m very chuffed about that.
What other things have you got involved in at QMU to help improve your employability, relax or make friends?
I worked at the Students’ Union Bar ‘Maggie’s’ which was really fun and was good for getting involved in events and activities that were going on. I have also worked as a student representative on Open Days, which has been good for getting to know more people round the uni, including staff.
Any advice for students who might be interested in this course?
If you are not successful at first, keep trying and don’t give up. Research what you are interested in and try to get some work or volunteering experience so that you are sure it’s the right thing for you. Attending open days was massively influential in helping me make up my mind about where I wanted to go, so I would recommend going to as many as possible.
Any future plans after graduation?
I am currently on my management placement and applying for my first job as a registered nurse, I have several interviews lined up and hope to begin working at the end of the summer.
What’s your ‘top tip’ for making the most of being a student?
Try to experience as much as possible! Get involved and take advantage of all the facilities and experiences that the university has to offer.
"I have had some really great classes but the highlight of my course has been my 3rd year placement on a surgical high dependency ward."