Nursing students embark on placements during Swindon Campus’ 20th anniversary year

Monday, 25 November 2019


Wednesday 20th November marked the beginning of an exciting chapter for the first year Oxford Brookes University nursing students based at Swindon.

It was the day they receive their uniforms and embark on the next phase of their nursing education - their work experience placement in hospitals and healthcare settings across the region.

To mark the occasion, students who study at Oxford Brookes’ Swindon Campus will be taking part in the annual cohort photograph which has been taken every year since nursing education began in Swindon.

This year’s photograph is particularly special because it also celebrates the 20th anniversary of Oxford Brookes University in Swindon.

Student Vanessa Drake, who is studying as a mature student, is looking forward to beginning her placement at Great Western Hospital.

She said: “I am really excited about experiencing nursing beyond the GP surgery setting, interacting with patients again, learning new skills, embedding those we have learnt in class and developing my nursing career.

“I’m quite nervous too though, which I know is normal as most of us suffer from ‘fear of the unknown’ but I am sure those nerves will settle quickly as I’ll be too busy to think about it.”

Vanessa previously worked as a Healthcare Assistant at a local GP surgery having initially been employed there as a medical secretary since 2005.

I am really excited about experiencing nursing beyond the GP surgery setting, interacting with patients again, learning new skills, embedding those we have learnt in class and developing my nursing career.

Vanessa Drake, first year student studying Adult Nursing, Oxford Brookes University in Swindon

Vanessa commutes from her home in Pewsey and says studying at Oxford Brookes University fits around her family life: “It has a great reputation and fortunately is local so I am able to commute daily while I still have one child at home.

“The facilities are very modern and interactive so we can learn on current technologically appropriate equipment.”

Sushmita Thapa is also studying as a mature student, having previously worked in the dental sector. She said that the sense of community at Oxford Brookes in Swindon made deciding to pursue her career much easier: “As a mature student, coming to university after a long gap is daunting and feeling supported was very important to me.

“Oxford Brookes in Swindon was an easy pick for me; it is near to my location and the Swindon Campus has a sense of belonging.”

Sushmita will be doing her placement with the Corsham and Box Community team.

Student Matthew Gibbons, from Frome in Somerset, will begin his placement at Trowbridge Community Hospital with the community nursing team. He said: “When I received my placement uniform it made me feel professional and warm inside, as well as excited and nervous. I kept thinking this is now getting very real.

“I will be working with a team I have never worked with before. It will be nerve-wracking but also very rewarding. I’m looking forward to meeting new people from various backgrounds and getting to know people not only on a general basis, but as an individual and delivering person-centred care. I believe this is one of the most important things to remember about nursing.”

Before beginning his studies, Matthew worked as a lifeguard and credits this with influencing his decision to choose a career in nursing: “It was an eye-opening experience for me in terms of meeting people with various needs, as well as being part of a team and operating in a high-intensity environment.

“I started off thinking that I wanted to be a doctor, however I found that actually nurses spend a lot more time with patients and delivering the care to people with different backgrounds and cultures to my own.”

Rachel Skittrall, Programme Lead for Adult Nursing Swindon at Oxford Brookes University, said: “We are proud to be celebrating 20 years of Oxford Brookes University in Swindon this year.

“Over the last two decades, many hundreds of students have graduated from the Swindon Campus, and have gone on to work in a wide range of healthcare settings in the surrounding communities."

You can find out more about studying Adult Nursing at Oxford Brookes University via the website.