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Katy Elliott BN (Hons) Bachelor of Nursing (Adult)

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Hi, I'm Katy Elliott and I studied BN Adult within Health Sciences at the University of Southampton.

While in Malawi I got to watch and assist in 11 births – two of the babies were named after me – and I gained loads of hands-on experience caring for patients in resource-restricted circumstances.

Why did you decide to do nursing at university?
After school I got a full-time job, because I felt that was the thing to do. No one in my family had gone to university, but I always wanted to do nursing. It wasn’t until after my granddad died and my nephew was born prematurely that I thought about doing nursing again, as I witnessed all the amazing care given and wanted to get involved.

What is your ambition?
Ever since I was a child, I have watched Children in Need and Comic Relief on the television and seen the great work that charities do in Africa to help people. These programmes gave me a desire to help people in Africa as well, and as a student nurse at Southampton, I have always looked for opportunities to fulfil this ambition.

What do you enjoy most about your course?
The most enjoyable part of the course for me is the placements. It’s great to be out there helping people, as well as gaining real-world experience. I also organised an additional placement in my second year on top of the required placements for my course. I went to Malawi, in Africa, to use the knowledge I had gained so far as a student nurse to benefit the people living there.

Can you tell us more about your placement in Africa?
The University has a relationship with AMECA, a charity that provides sustainable medical education and care in African communities. Through this I secured a £1,000 bursary, which added with my own fundraising, enabled me to travel to Malawi.

I organised the whole trip myself and even chose the hospital that I wanted to work in – the David Gordon Memorial Hospital (DGMH), which is a 100+ bed mission hospital situated on a plateau 3,000 feet above Lake Malawi. When I travelled there, I took with me some donated supplies such as gloves, aprons and dressings. But I also took out colouring books and pens, toys and dolls for the local children to use when they were in hospital.

From the moment I arrived I was getting involved with real-life nursing. I got to watch and assist in 11 births – two of the babies were named after me – and I gained loads of hands-on experience caring for patients in resource-restricted circumstances. I also got to witness some emergency surgery and was able to advise the local nursing staff on different ways to treat wounds and sores in order to make patients more comfortable.

How have the skills you learnt on placement helped you on your course and in the future?
Before I organised my trip to Malawi I wasn’t very organised, but now all the transferable skills I have learnt such as time management, organisation and team work will really help me in my future career as a nurse. The placement also gave me loads of hands-on nursing experience which is invaluable.

Would you recommend nursing at Southampton to other students?
Yes, definitely. When I first got here, I loved it. I can’t stop recommending the course to other people as it has enabled me to go and fulfil my ambition. Even though I applied to other universities as well as Southampton, I only really wanted to come here, because the course is so good. I am from Southampton, but why would I want to go anywhere else, when the best is on my doorstep?

What do you want to do when you leave University?
When I am a qualified nurse, I hope to be able to go back to Malawi and continue to help people, as I am still in contact with all the doctors out there.


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