If you’re wondering whether a career in Nursing is for you then Carol Letts’ story might answer your question and fuel your inspiration.
The evolution of Nursing
I trained in the 1980s in England, and it was the old style of training. It was more of an apprenticeship where we learned on the job. It was quite task orientated, and when I look back, I see we did things well but we didn’t always know the rationale for what we were doing.
These days we use scenario-based teaching, which is all about making things interactive and not tasked driven. Scenario-based teaching is part of the Laureate learning model, and it’s a fantastic way of teaching and learning.
Our role as nurses has evolved and changed massively over time. I was one of the first registered nurses to do intravenous medication and there was hardly anyone else on the ward who could do it. Now it is part and parcel of registered nursing and enrolled nursing practice.
My journey from when I began my training at 18, has been varied. I started out working in acute care, surgery, respiratory care, and as I matured and had a family, life changed and eventually I specialised in palliative care. I was working in the community and dealing with all the physical, social and psychological aspects of caring for a patent and their family. It was such a rewarding position. I absolutely loved it.
Since then, my nursing qualifications have taken me around the world.
Making a difference every day
Nursing is a vocation and it’s not for the faint-hearted, but I say to our students,
“How lucky are we to have a job where you can actually feel good about yourself every day because you know you are making a difference?”
I’ve never, ever doubted that I’ve made the right choice. There are few jobs where you can move into various areas and challenge, motivate and re-energise yourself while you are making a difference in people’s lives every single day. Nursing is one of those careers, and I also feel the same way about the work I’m doing now – teaching the next generation of nurses.
Walking alongside our students
We have a fantastic team here at Torrens University, who really believe in and take pride in our students’ experience.
We have a high progression rate and I think that’s because if we see new students struggling a little in their first weeks, we will help them. We’ll ask: Do you need more help? Are language or literacy skills an issue for you? Do you have some personal problems? Let me help you catch up.
I’ll often work in the labs and make myself very visible. That way, students who might be struggling are more likely to come and see me and have a chat. I’m not in an office far, far away.
We also have a personalised approach to learning. We have smaller teaching groups so we can really get into the discussions and construct practical meaning out of theoretical concepts. Additionally, we believe in peer support. In the daily collaborated lab sessions, students from different stages interact. The senior students practice their skills while helping the more junior ones.
Our facilities are absolutely beautiful, state of the art. The labs are world-class, and we use high-tech training mannequins. But you know, you can have the most high-tech equipment, but that doesn’t help unless you have the best teachers, and I believe we do.
I really believe it is the nurse who walks alongside the patient for their whole journey and makes a difference. Doctors, physios, OTs, nutritionists come and go. They are important people, but they come and go in that patient’s life. The one person who stands beside the patient and walks with them their whole journey – from admission to discharge – is the nurse.
Carol Letts has recently completed the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching to complement her other teaching qualifications.
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