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Kiran Shahzadi

BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing

In at the deep end

"It's been quite an intense end to my Adult Nursing studies at the University of Bradford. I decided to opt-in to support the fight against Covid-19 and I've been working on an intensive care unit (ICU) for the past few months as part of my final placement at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

"I was just finishing up my final 4,000 word 'Transition to Nursing' assignment when I got the email. I've worked in intensive care previously and I loved it, but this felt very different and I remember saying 'I don't think I can do this'. There were lots of things flying around on social media about a lack of PPE and nurses contracting the virus but I also knew that I could opt out if I struggled. My family were supportive but were understandably apprehensive as well. I decided to move out to help protect them but this was particularly difficult as it was during Ramadan and opening my fast each evening all by myself definitely got me down.

"Looking after patients with Covid-19 was really tough. We not only had to support them, but also their family members who were unable to come to the hospital to visit their loved ones. There were lots of emotional video calls and the whole experience was very draining, but I was able to draw on my studies and previous placements to help."

It was sharing the experience with my colleagues and coursemates that carried me through. We'd grab 10 minutes to chat together during a break, keep in touch on WhatsApp or give each other a call at the end of our 12 hour shifts. I also had some emotional calls with my link lecturer at the start of the placement and really appreciated the support. As we've now passed the peak I can reflect on the experience and I'm proud of the difference I've made and am feeling some of that enjoyment again.

From clinical support to nursing

"I was only 14 when I lost my dad to cancer. That experience steered me towards my career in healthcare. I started out working as a clinical support worker in the local hospital. I would help with admissions and other tasks. Seeing the impact that the doctors and nurses had inspired me, and I was encouraged by colleagues to take the next step and study to become a nurse. I wasn't sure I had the academic ability but I was confident, from my experience in the hospital, that I could demonstrate the compassion and care that nursing requires.

"As I was already working in the NHS, I had heard great things about the nursing course at Bradford. Studying doesn't come naturally to me but I got a lot of support from tutors and my friends on the course. We'd study together, occasionally working late nights and it sometimes felt pretty intense but we were able to pull through together."

This is where

...I stepped up

"There are around 250 students on my course. I'm a very sociable person so I feel like I've gotten to know most of them. In my first year I got involved in some of the clubs and societies on campus and enjoyed shopping and going out for food in the city. It was a great way to get to know people, the city and enjoy some downtime. I've had less time for this in subsequent years as I've focussed more on my studies and professional placements.

"Although I'm originally from Leeds I'm hoping to stay working in Bradford as I love it in the city. Before my final placement I was thinking about continuing my studies to become an Advanced Practitioner and that is something that I might still conisder in the future. I've also been speaking to colleagues about community practice and palliative care in particular. I'm still really keen to work with cancer patients but right now I'm just ready to take a bit of a break over the summer and celebrate my graduation before starting my nursing career proper."

Kiran Shahidi, BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing

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