March Nursing PAL Newsetter

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A PAL Volunteer studying on her laptop at home.


We now have an academic liason, Sophie Davis. Sophie is a Stage 2 Adult lecturer based at Chesterfield. She joined Derby University last September and is very much looking forward to working with us in PALs.

We have also had March 21 Cohort join the scheme, we would like to offer a warm welcome and hope you enjoy the content.

Personal Experiences

Written by Elizabeth Asana a 2nd year Childrens Student Nurse and PAL Volunteer

"2020 was an unprecedented time and a difficult year to be a Student Nurse. I was a first year Student who was trying to manage family life, work as a well as being a student which was going as planned then, the pandemic hit without any warnings. I was in my simulation class when the university informed all student that the government has imposed a lockdown on the country and on campus lecture will cease until further notice. I remember the feeling of panic and anxiety rushing through me because the uncertainty of being unable to continue with my studies and the possibility of being a Nurse may be coming out of my reach. I went from being a full-time student who loved every minute of being on campus studying and socializing with people to full lockdown and moving to online study without physical contact with other students or lecturers.

Before lockdown was announced, the university were already in the process of implementing changes and informing all students that on campus lectures might move to remote learning as this will allow students to follow guidelines from the government to social distance to keep us safe from contracting covid19. At this point, I was in the process of moving from London to Derbyshire with my family which made me very distress and it felt like I was losing my mind.

When lockdown finally came into effect, it became a strenuous task to focus on my learning because I had relocated with my family in the same week of lockdown which having access to internet was having a detrimental effect on my ability to produce a good piece of work. During this time, I was updating my lecturers about my situation and on how I may need extension for assignment submission which they were happy to oblige to. I also had problem with my laptop and running to the campus would have been my backup, but that option was not available however, the university was very kind in loaning me a laptop to complete my assignment after I had finally gained access to internet. The greatest part of the first few month of lockdown was the lecturers keeping in touch with the whole group, I could also book a one-to-one session with them if necessary, student wellbeing was always available when needed and the university updated students every week which made the transition easier for me and I guess for most students.

I would say transitioning to online learning had it advantages such has having live lectures on collaborate, having access to recorded lectures when I had missed a session, course contents readily available before lectures but it also had it disadvantages such as face to face interaction and the fill of being a university student. Being a Student Nurse requires attending placement, but students were unable to attend due to the university making a conscious decision to withhold it for the safety reasons. Also, the training organization was having to cope with the critical circumstances surrounding covid which means they would have been unable to fully support my learning and would have been at a disadvantage for all students. At the end of the first lockdown, we were able to attend placement and I felt that the university’s decision to withhold placement was an accurate conclusion because it was in the best interest of everyone.

Returning to on campus learning was a mixed feeling of emotions for me, I was very excited to be returning and at the same time being very worried and cautious about contracting Covid. seeing measures in place, students wearing face mask made me realized that so much has changed in a short space of time and that student life will never be the same, however, I was happy to be back on campus. We are currently not fully back on campus as we are still in a pandemic and I do not see things changing for the duration of my studies but glad to have continued studying amid the pandemic.

Looking back on how pandemic has changed us as a society or me as an individual, it has shown that we can adapt when there is a need to and, it has built me to be a more resilient individual who may be able to withstand difficult conditions or unplanned situations. Most importantly, Self-Care is paramount as this has a positive outcome on mental wellbeing. As a student who found the beginning of lockdown very difficult, it is important to always request for help irrespective of how big or how little it may be as it will help in dealing with challenging situations but the important thing is to recognize that you need help."

You Asked, We did

Quite a few students in the September 20 cohort were asking for help with referencing and the ANPC assignment, we have therefore organised a session on just those things. This session has been organised for tomorrow, 26th March at 1.00pm on Teams. We will be giving a general reflection on our assignments from last year and how it has been useful in practice when going on placements. Then we will be going into a referencing crash course to give a bit of foundation knowledge, linking to useful referencing tools and guides. We will also give advice on where to seek help if you are struggling with academic work.

Secondly, we had feedback from your course reps around anxieties of placement cancellations and studying online, so we organised a couple of 2nd year students to give their personal experiences of going online when the 1st lockdown hit last year. We delivered this to both September 20 and March 21.

Anthony has also organised a couple of sessions for the Mental Health cohort, inviting all students to attend sharing his knowledge and work experience on mental health wards.

Referencing Tips

  1. Reference as you go - when writing a citation always write your full reference in your list to make sure you are not omitting any information when you submit your work.
  2. Create a separate document just for your reference list - this helps with organising your work and keeping an eye on your word count. You could also have a bibliography on there as well to help you remember what information you are reading if you need to reference it later on.
  3. Double check you have referenced accurately - you can do this using your Cite Them Right book or by going onto their website.
  4. If using referencing tools, always check that they are grammatically correct - sometimes they may not be correct and you can loose marks for this.
  5. Ensure that your list is in alphabetical order and your citations are in date order if you are citing more than one author within one sentence.
  6. Use your library resources for help, follow your links in the Udo app -


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