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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Tommy Tierney Adult Nursing 2019

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Hi, I'm Tommy and I'm studying BN Adult Nursing at the University of Southampton.

We get to engage, connect, encourage and learn so much about people as we help them on their journey in the hospital or in the community.

Why did you choose to study at Southampton?

Southampton has many ties to Cancer Research UK, Macmillan cancer support and renowned for its cardiac department. These are all areas I am interested in. I should add that Southampton is part of the Russell Group of universities and that was also a factor in my choice. Along with ties to Ireland including access courses and other Irish Universities. I felt sought after.

What led you to choose the field of Nursing?

I chose Adult Nursing because it incorporated everything I have done in the past. Nursing blended my scientific background with my love of teaching, educating and promoting a healthy lifestyle. 

The passion for Nursing can be found in the eyes, voice and smile of a person. I see it in the areas I love; cardiac, allergies and theatres. When you see that initial spark you can pinpoint how much a person loves what they do, engages with all of the tricky, intricate, difficult and beautifully amazing aspects that Nursing has to offer. 

When you connect with the human condition it is people who are young and old. Those being born, living and dying. It is a privilege that lets us access some of the most difficult times of people's lives. But we have the other side to it in other areas of Nursing where we get to see medical interventions give people a new lease of life and a check-up brings a smile to their face because it is just enough to help to improve their wellbeing and go about their daily life.

We get to see a spectrum of fear, love, joy and pain. We could just view it and watch it unfold but we don't. We get to engage, connect, encourage and learn so much about people as we help them on their journey in the hospital or in the community. 

There is something special about Nursing, I think it's being connected to a team and to the people we are helping. 

What were you anxious about before coming to Southampton?

I was not overly anxious and was ready for change, but had my doubts and fears; making friends, a new country, new accent, a currency I had not used since I was a kid. I knew I would settle and make friends over time. You can balance working if you manage your time. I was worried about what the degree would be like as it is 50:50 lectures and placement.

Once at Southampton, how were your fears overcome?

I was lucky that I came over with a group from home, we got a house in first year. We came over a week before the other students moved into Halls so were part of private rented and halls with some of our other friends. This is the time to just jump in and chat to anybody and everyone!

When I got over here my stomach was in knots, I didn't think I would be homesick but I was. I had friends here to keep me occupied and in the first few weeks you chat to so many people. After a while your friends become your pseudo-family.

What is it like studying here?

As a Nursing student we have a different experience studying. Because our time off is different to that of other degrees we get a different view on things. In one way we get more out of the time off because we want to life the ‘student life’. We have societies and clubs to join and get involved in.

How do you rate study facilities at the University?

The University has loads of amenities. You have The Libraries in Highfield and in Southampton General HospitalJubilee Sports centre and the Students union. We have enabling and student services when you need some extra help. Let’s be honest life is not always simple, you just got to know where to look! I am still finding things two years in like the underground tunnels that connect some of the buildings to one other.

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’ (best experiences) so far?

So far it has been pretty amazing. We have been on the TV, made some pretty major changes to things in the University and Hospital. Our year got involved in the wearing white campaign and our whole lecture hall was bright highlighting world cancer day.

How has your time at Southampton helped you to grow as a person?

I have matured a lot more in the last few years and have learned to take any opportunity. Ask for as much as you can, the worst they say is no.

What are you enjoying most about your course?

I loved my placements and that’s what a lot of people will tell you. We are going to be nurses at the end of this.

When we get back into University you get to reboot. I never liked to research and study but now I get home from placement and I want to research and delve deeper into topics. That’s the joy of being a student you need to get the balance right and that comes with time.

What is the city of Southampton like to live in?

Southampton and The South Coast have so much to offer, there are places you just stumble upon; Southampton Common, some lovely areas of the New Forest when you need to get a break, The Jurassic Coast (Charmouth is great, I have a fossil as proof!), we have lovely beaches only 30 minutes east or west of us. Sadly what we do not have as our own sandy beach, but we make up for it as a port with many extras in the city.

The area itself has a great feeling of community. I have rambled around the City and there is more to see and do than the usual student spots. Soon enough you will know it the back of your hand and it will feel like a second home. 

So I am not going to tell you all there is to see and do, just jump in and have fun!

What one word sums up how you feel about your experiences so far at Southampton? 


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