The reality of being a mental health nursing student


Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing
Category: Nursing and midwifery

22 February 2021

I entered my Mental Health Nursing degree with little to no experience in the field, and I had no idea what to expect. On top of that, a pandemic hit and COVID-19 meant my first-year of university would be a very different experience to those who went before me...

Coming into this degree during a global pandemic created even more anticipation around what to expect, and how the virus will affect my learning.

I have been impressed by the way the University has handled online learning through these unprecedented times but I will admit it was easy to start feel anxious about it. Mostly I worried about how I would be supported and gain the correct nursing knowledge I needed to prepare myself for my first placement.

Before starting this degree, I was worried about my lack of bioscience knowledge. The last time I had studied the human body was during my GCSE’s, so I was expecting to struggle massively with this. To my surprise, I have found the bioscience content very doable. I didn’t feel like I was being thrown into the deep end, the lectures really touched on the basics of bioscience before adding detail. I think this has set me up really well.

Nursing student Ella in her uniform

Because of this, I have also enjoyed the bioscience content a lot more than expected, especially the pathology side. This also applies to the essay assignments. I have found the essays easier than I thought I would. When I am writing about a topic I have an interest in, the essays are more fun than stressful – I never thought I would say that!

Due to my lack of work experience in the healthcare sector, I also expected to feel miles behind my classmates during clinical lessons. I have realised that this is not the case as every lesson we are all learning something new and we are all working at the same level.

I have realised that many student nurses work for the NHS bank alongside their studies. I didn’t consider this before, but now this is something that I am hoping to participate in to increase my nursing knowledge and earn some extra money. I have not yet had the opportunity to go out on placement, but I hope that I enjoy it as much as I am expecting to.

I think the reality is that sometimes I may not enjoy certain aspects of the course, but I must keep an open mind. At times I may be feeling exhausted; however, I will always remember that hard work pays off and it will all be worth it once I am a registered nurse. I can’t wait.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.