Q&A: Third-year nursing student

Nellie (Danelle) Ireland

Third-year CQUniversity student Danelle Ireland shares her insights with the ANMJ.

What attracted you to nursing?

I have been a professional photographer for 20 years, specialising in newborn and baby portraiture. Then COVID came along and I was looking for a change. When I reflected on what I really wanted to do, nursing came to my mind. My best friend from high school unexpectedly passed away from a brain aneurysm and my son was diagnosed with a heart condition that I was completely clueless about it. So, I guess the attraction to nursing for me, is understanding the body and helping my family to understand what’s going on with their bodies and health.

Nellie with her two children

What are you enjoying in the BA Nursing program?

I am really enjoying my placements, as I have had amazing opportunities to learn and grow and gain more skills. I also enjoy the flexibility of online learning as with having kids, and working part time as an assistant in nursing in the emergency department, the flexibility is definitely a bonus.

What/if do you find most challenging in the course/study?

Definitely trying to find the hours to fit everything in. Also, I set the bar high with insanely high expectations so when I don’t quite achieve that it is challenging.

Do you have any study tips/methods or advice for those starting their course in 2023?

Be organised! Get all of your checks for placements done early as some can take quite a bit of time to complete. Find people who you can connect with online or in person so you can bounce ideas off each other and get clarity on things you don’t quite understand. Get up to speed on using acronyms and word tricks to remember things.

What clinical placements have you done so far? What have been your favourites and why?

I have had a variety of different placements – cardiac, orthopaedic, mental health and general medical. The best placement was my first placement, which was a rural placement in the general wards. The learning was amazing, with very supportive staff who were eager to teach me and it cemented my interest in nursing.

Do you have any tips for preparing for clinical placement or while on placement?

Get lots of sleep and take a little notebook to write down terms/medications that you aren’t sure of. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions!

Nellie with her husband

What specific advice would you give overall to students?

1st year – Get to know your way around Moodle (the university online management system), Sonia (clinical placement portal) and the library as they are your best friend.

2nd year – Don’t give up…do little chunks at a time. It may seem overwhelming and you may feel like you’re in over your head (well for me it did) – reach out if you’re struggling and really take time in the pharmacology and pathophysiology units as they are very heavy content wise.

Is there a specialty or area of nursing you want to specialise in?

I would love to go into something fast paced so either the emergency department, surgical or cardiac would be the direction I want to go.

If you weren’t doing nursing what would you be doing?

I’d probably still be photographing newborns and babies and breaking my back from the huge amount of sitting on the floor and awkward positions!

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