Planning ahead for my dissertation

Emma Wolton

Faculty: Health, Social Care & Education
Department: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Child Nursing
Category: Nursing and midwifery

24 September 2014

I just can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by this time of year. As I write this I have just one full week of my summer holidays left! However, I have been trying to put my holidays to good use.

I started out by trying to organise myself a week of work-shadowing with the children’s community nurses (not part of my university learning, but something additional over my summer holidays!) because I know that I won’t have any more community placements in my third year (children’s community nursing is currently the hot contender for my future career). It was a really challenging process to go through – issues with insurance and other things which on that I guess will always occur in big organisations like the NHS. Therefore, unfortunately I had to accept that I wouldn’t be able to have this additional experience. On the up side however, I guess I had good practice at networking and made several local contacts in that area.

One of my main tasks for the summer has been, like many students, getting some more money in the bank before I get back to full-time study again. I’ve been quite involved with the employment bureau and the university and have gained a fair bit of experience promoting the university for students at clearing, helping at interview days and calming down nervous students as they move in. I’ve also been tutoring which adds more child related experience to my CV which should help with job applications next year.

The other thing weighing on my mind this summer has been trying to come up with a dissertation topic. I felt it was really important to choose a topic that 1) interests me enough to stick with the subject for around nine months of work; and 2) find a topic that won’t send the wrong message to future employers. This will be a very big piece of work and at the end of a dissertation I should (hopefully!) be extremely knowledgeable about the topic. My worry is that if, for example, I chose to write about neonates and then applied for a job working with adolescents, employers might wonder if I was actually interested in their area.

I think I have selected my topic (although you never know until it has been formally approved by a dissertation supervisor); I want to look at how restraint is used in children’s nursing. Inevitably children are held down against their will to have vital and necessary clinical procedures carried out – we may not like it, but it happens. I want to look into what effects that has for the child further down the line psychologically, as well as for the nurses who have to restrain them, and for the family members who either watch or participate. I think it will be an interesting area to look into that’s applicable to lots of areas of nursing. So hopefully I have met objectives 1 and 2 above!

Lastly, this summer I found out what my next two placements will be. For my short four-week placement I am in a children’s hospice, and for my critical care placement I am in A&E! Both are fantastic experiences which I’m excited about. I feel really glad to have been placed in A&E but at the same time it’s quite terrifying!

I’ll let you know how my short placement is going in the next blog.
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