Thursday, 21 May 2015

New Blogging Home

Hello! I've recently moved from blogger to wordpress and I'm now at www.studentnursedani.co.uk

Hope to see you there! :)

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Applying for Child Nursing (Part 1) - The Process





While applying to study child nursing, I found that there was a lot of information online on adult nursing specifically, and not so much on child nursing. It's the same thing for paramedic students or ODP students who are looking for personal statement examples, and it's a case of looking at nearby subjects for help as there isn't much out there for specific subjects. Because of this, I thought I'd create a little blog series based specifically on applying for child nursing (but with some tips for other NHS funded and healthcare courses along the way).

Unlike other courses such as English, Maths or History, all nursing applicants, if successful with the initial part of their applicant, must attend an interview. That's the aim of the UCAS application: to get an interview. And in turn, the aim of the interview is to get a place on the course. But first thing is first: what is the process?

  1. Decide what subject you want to study
  2. Do some work experience
  3. Write the personal statement for the UCAS application
  4. Get reference for UCAS application
  5. Send UCAS off
  6. Get invited to interview
  7. Complete numeracy and literacy tests at interview
  8. Complete the 'interview' component of the interview 

Step 1 may seem obvious, but it can also be one of the most difficult parts (and was a lengthy process for me of figuring out what I actually wanted a career in). I'll talk about some of these points in more detail later in separate posts, such as work experience, the personal statement, and interviews (specifically Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) style interviews). For now, this post is just a brief intro!

Onto an important question to start us off...



How can I get an interview?


Like I mentioned earlier, this is the aim of your personal statement. It's like a condensed little, "this is why you should pick me!" advertisement of yourself, proving why you're suited to the course and that you understand what is required of you, the role of a children's nurse, and that you have the skills and qualities required to excel.

There are 3 main pieces of criteria you need to meet during the application process to be successful, and different universities use that criteria in different ways.

Universities will look at your:

  • Education qualifications (grades for GCSEs, A-Levels or equivalent and subject specific requirements such as Biology)
  • Personal statement 
  • Reference

It's easy to say your personal statement is the most important part of your application, and in a way it is - without a good personal statement it's unlikely you'll get an interview. But they won't even look at your personal statement if you haven't met the minimum entry requirements, so it's really important to apply to places that are within your reach. For me that was easier, as I was applying with my grades rather than predicted grades, but I took a gamble on one university that was asking for Biology A Level and it didn't pay off as I got a rejection based on that (I have AS Biology but not A2) so make sure you do your research and apply to as many universities as you can to up your chances!

Next: Personal Statement (coming soon)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Where is the justice for Purvi Patel?

(Purvi Patel, sentenced to 20 years in prison. Image source)

I read an article this morning published by the New York Times with the headline, 'Purvi Patel Could Be Just the Beginning' and one by the Guardian titled 'It isn't justice for Purvi Patel to serve 20 years in prison for an abortion' . The articles discuss a 33 year old woman named Purvi Patel from Indiana, USA, who has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for feticide and neglect of a dependent.

Those two things together appear to be contradictory - a sentencing for fetal homicide (aka abortion) and neglecting a living child. But it seems logic is not the thing driving this case.

Take one of the ways the prosecution tried to establish the baby was not stillborn at birth (therefore allowing Patel to also be convicted of neglect of a dependent). They used 17th Century 'science', and so don't be surprised if this sounds more like a method of identifying witchcraft. From the New York Times article:

The pathologist for the prosecution, Joseph Prahlow, testified that the fetus was [...] at 25 to 30 weeks gestation, which is past the point of viability - and was born alive. News reports from the trial emphasized Prahlow's use of a "lung float test" in making his determination. The idea behind the test - which dates from the 17th century - is that if the lungs float in water, the baby took at least one breath. If they sink, then the fetus died before leaving the womb.

Years ago, the test was already completely discredited. (Who's surprised it was discredited? Nobody.)

There has also been a lot of doubt on many other aspects of this case. Patel went to the emergency room with heavy bleeding and told the doctors she had miscarried and that the baby had been stillborn. Not knowing what to do, she put the body in a bag and into a dumpster, which the police later recovered. They also found text messages that Patel sent to a friend about ordering pills from Hong Kong to induce abortion, and three days later she texted the friend again saying, "Just lost the baby." But there is debate as to whether the baby was alive or not when born, and no drugs were found in her system in the blood test taken after she miscarried. When the police initially questioned Patel, it was in the hospital with no attorney present. Patel was convicted on text messages and 17th century science.

The law and this case in particular seems harmful on a number of levels, one of which is the impact it may have on women in Indiana and across the USA in seeking help for abortions. To criminalise abortion (even when apparently abortion is legal in the US), or to make it difficult to access services, or to judge those who do, can lead to women not seeking help. When a woman is desperate to end her pregnancy, it's not a case of whether to do it but how. This is dangerous, because women will get 'backstreet abortions' and order pills online. What these women need is support, education, safety and guidance, and to be able to seek help without fear of the repercussions (such as 20 years in prison). Anti-abortion laws should not be used as a punishment against women, but it seems like this is what's happening.

As written in a CNN article,

Ask yourself: In the case of Purvi Patel, even if she did intend to self-abort and used black market drugs to do so, and if she indeed delivered a live fetus, wouldn't we want to live in a society where she would bring that baby to the hospital for life-saving medical attention rather than be so afraid of prosecution that she threw it in a dumpster?
And a question which the title of the New York Times article raises is: what next? Will more women be sent to prison for abortion? Is this just the beginning? The purpose of sentencing Patel to prison for 20 years is difficult to find a reason for in light of the evidence (or lack of and unreliability of) other than to perhaps 'set an example' or as a means to control women. This woman broke the law, but to me that means there's a problem with the law and this entire case.

If you want to help, then read Outraged About Purvi Patel Case? Four Things To Do Now by Deepa Iyer.

Monday, 6 April 2015

#The100DayProject

I stumbled across something today that first seemed like an almost unachievable project, but the idea grew on me, and grew, and now I sort of feel like I've been sucked in. I fell across The 100 Day Project by chance, and luck, and now I'm committing to it.


What is it? It's a project that unites creatives (and non-creative types, because everyone can get involved in this) with the intention of completing an action for 100 consecutive days. The action can be any type of creation - writing a page of a story, taking a photograph, writing a poem, writing a line of a song, drawing with your eyes closed etc. The awesome thing about all of this, apart from engaging in a fun activity one hundred times, is that you're part of an online community of people who are all doing the same thing for the fun of it. 

For me, creating is important, and I feel like I've been missing it recently. I used to write a lot, and I used to do a lot of photography, and I refuse to let both hobbies slip away. And if you're going to do something, you might as well go big or go home, right? So for the next 100 days, I'm going to take a photograph and upload it to my newly-created Instagram with the hashtag:

#100DaysofDaniPhotog

Occasionally, I'll blog about my progress and some of the things I've been creating, but the main bulk of it will be over on Instagram. I'll also be uploading some of the photography to my Flickr account, but in a slower, more casual sense as I've got a lot of photos from my trip to America to get up there (a post about that is coming very, very soon!).

The project starts today! (6th April) and runs until 14th July. Happy creating!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A New Beginning


This blog originally began in March 2014 as a way to document my time at university. It was picture heavy, and consisted of shots of me and my housemates (who I still love very much even though I don't live with most of them anymore) having fun, usually in our university accommodation, affectionally dubbed "House 42". At the time I was 19, in the second semester of my first year of university, and studying English Literature & Creative Writing. A lot has happened between then and the time of me writing this (March 2015), but a year since its inception, this blog is beginning again but in a very different way. Although I've considered the idea of creating an entirely new blog for this endeavour, I don't want to lose any of the posts I made before. In a way, it's nice to see where my journey began, even if at that point I had no idea what journey I was actually setting on.

During my first year of university (September 2013-June 2014) I realised undoubtedly that I did not want to study English. It wasn't the degree itself, and definitely not the university, which I loved (and I will talk about more later). I just knew that I wasn't right for the course. I would sit in lectures and think: is this all there is? I'm sitting here learning about dead poets when I could actually be doing something worthwhile? And getting into debt while doing it? Don't get me wrong - that's not to say I don't think studying English or the arts isn't worthwhile. It is, art is hugely important and not something I've sacrificed since quitting my English degree, but for me it wasn't enough to pursue as a career. Although I found it difficult to put into words, I just needed more. 

For a long time I'd been seriously considering becoming a paramedic. (The amount of times I said to people while studying English that I wanted to become a paramedic and the response was: Wow. That's a really different career choice, is too many to count.) I was lucky enough by this point to know a qualified paramedic, and I was living with and had become good friends with a student paramedic. I also knew a few qualified nurses and a few student nurses, so I was getting a good insight into what it was like being a student in these areas, and some interesting tidbits from those who were qualified practitioners. There was something about being a paramedic that drew me in, and I think a lot of it was probably the pre-hospital environment mixed with always seeing new things and being kept on your toes. I didn't, and still don't, want something without variety, something 9-5, something that doesn't involve meeting lots of people with lots of challenges. I'll probably change my mind when I'm 40 or something, but emergency care really interests me.

That said, I was a lot closer to what I actually wanted to do, but something wouldn't quite fit. I doubted myself a lot. Once you've had an idea in your head for years though, even if it's one you've never seriously gone after, it's hard to shake off. By March 2014, I'd submitted my UCAS application for Paramedic Practice at the university I was studying at, got given an interview invite, I accepted it, and then sent an apology email and withdrew my entire application. I just knew it wasn't for me, even though there are so many aspects I still love, there are also points that put me off, and I wanted a career I was really sure about.

This is the point where I go completely crazy, decide to become a doctor, visit loads of med schools, take my UKCAT, go on work experience (which was awesome, and I will do a post about in the future) and then realise that I don't want to become a doctor, I can meet all of the academic desires I have on a course that will still give me a life, I want more hands-on care with people, and finally, finally, it all starts to fall into place. Sometimes you have to go through a lot of no ways, maybes, and not sures, before you finally get that definite yes. 

Paediatric nursing. That was the decision I made, and since making it, I have not regretted it once. It has everything I wanted - variety, opportunity to specialise in different areas, a way to keep on progressing upwards and developing my skills, an opportunity to help and care for people, a way to incorporate my prior knowledge of being a sick kid that will actually be of benefit (I will talk about my childhood illness in future posts, too), science... the list feels endless. It took me a long time to get to this point, lots of thinking, a LOT of researching, work experience, working as a play worker with kids with disabilities, talking to healthcare professionals and students, 3 rounds of UCAS (thanks to all the teachers who put up with doing my references even when I wasn't a student there anymore) and about 100 personal statement drafts and revisions. Now I'm at the stage where I have been accepted onto a course at the university I once studied a year of English at (I finished the first year by the way, and didn't drop out halfway through because a) I loved my housemates and the university too much and b) I don't like quitting halfway through things) and I'm SO excited to start this new adventure.

So that's what this blog is going to be about. My journey as a student child nurse and being a fresher all over again. Welcome to this crazy ride!

(P.S - if you're interested, you can follow my blog with Bloglovin!)