"Something just clicked and it’s really satisfying to be taking up my first permanent role at Poole Hospital doing the job I love.”
Mum-of-three, Keri Hilton, is moving straight from final placement to her first role as a newly-qualified nurse on the children’s ward at Poole Hospital.
Keri has always enjoyed working with children, and decided to retrain as a nurse having spent the early part of her career in youth work in schools. She enrolled on the BSc (Hons) in Children’s and Young People’s Nursing at BU immediately after completing her first degree with the Open University.
She said: “Having had my own children, I was attracted to working with children and their families in a medical setting. It gave me a new appreciation of the importance of family-centred care, and I wanted to be part of a team working to make life better for children at such a critical time.”
While Keri knew early on that she wanted to work on a children’s ward, the series of placements during her degree gave her experience of a range of settings. She said: “I spent time on the surgical and high dependency wards at Poole and Salisbury hospitals, as well as in community and at a children’s hospice. Each placement taught me something different.
"It is challenging having to adapt to a new working environment each time, but it really adds to your skills and experience. You just have to be open to new ways of doing things and try to soak up as much as you can.
“The frequency of the placements means that you are constantly putting theory into practice, and drawing on your experiences to enhance your knowledge. I did my placement on the children’s ward in my first year, and from day one I knew that this was the route I wanted to follow. Something just clicked and it’s really satisfying to be taking up my first permanent role at Poole Hospital doing the job I love.”
Keri will take up her full-time role at Poole in October, immediately after her final 13-week placement - known as consolidation - there. She admits that juggling full-time study and having a young family is challenging, but achievable.
Keri said: “The degree is a full-time commitment and involves regular work placements too. It means you need to have a flexible approach and at times it has been tough. But my message to others is that it is obtainable. You have to be dedicated and develop your time management skills, but it is certainly worthwhile.”
Prior to graduating, Keri was awarded the Children’s and Young People’s Nursing Award at the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences Student Success Awards. She was nominated by her lecturers for showing the best overall, sustained performance in academic work and clinical practice.