Session with Student Nurses at York Uni – Part 1!

I’d been looking forward to meeting the students again for ages. For those that aren’t aware, I first met the 1st year student nurses back in September. My daughter Sarah, has just qualified as a nurse and I was shocked at the lack of content in her 3 year course around dementia – 3hours in total in her 3 year course. I made friends with her lecturers – Helen Roberts and Rob Allison – and from this year the course has been rewritten and dementia is a part of every module. Brilliant😊

They had a talk from me and my daughter Sarah back in September and today we’re there for a 2 hour lecture, which includes an hour from me and Sarah. So in their first term, they’ll have already had more than Sarah in her entire 3 years.

I woke up to find a comment on Twitter from one of the students to say how much she was looking forward to seeing me again which was nice.
Sarah met me off the bus and we drove to the uni and were met by the lovely Helen Roberts who provided us with a much needed cuppa.

An hour is a long time to listen to anyone so we decided to split it up and have me, then 15 mins from Sarah, then me finishing off. Hopefully that way they wouldn’t fall asleep!

Me taking a sneaky photo of Rob when he was warning students not to use mobile phones....🙄
Me taking a sneaky photo of Rob when he was warning students not to use mobile phones….🙄

The topic of the lecture was ‘Understanding the Patient Experience’. Rob had put together a presentation and was going to talk before and after us.


The lecture theatre was full to bursting and they had to set out more seats at the front to accommodate everyone. They were a very happy lot and some were in Christmas jumpers for the occasion. I asked if they minded me taking a picture of me and Sarah with them all to go on my blog and I immediately put it on Twitter for those that wanted to have a look.

Yeh! – Me and Sarah are the 2 sat on the stairs..

I started off by saying how less scared they looked from the first time I saw them! And hoped they’d had a good first term. I imagine their heads are full to exploding point as it’s a lot to take in and often, a shock to the system.

During my first session, I spoke of the lack of awareness in the clinical world. I gave the example of the breast cancer specialist thinking she had no patients with dementia, only to find out that she had over a 100 when she checked the detail. I told them the story of my experience as a day patient in the eye clinic. How 3 clinicians had asked me the same questions which relied on my memory to relate important information……

“If you can get it right for people with dementia you can transfer a whole load of those skills to any patient. Because you’re not looking at the dementia, you’re looking at the person as a whole.”

Great catoon that Rob used....
Great cartoon that Rob used….

I then rambled on about the various other symptoms we can have to highlight the fact that it isn’t all about memory and how they need to be observant on the ward because not everyone admits they have dementia and not everyone has a diagnosis.

It was then Sarah’s turn.
She spoke brilliantly about her experience since I was diagnosed and how she had learnt the importance of not ‘dis abling’ the person with dementia. As a qualified nurse she certainly:

“I certainly don’t miss the exams and assignments!!

She eloquently spoke of how the ‘small things matter’ and the importance of ‘getting to know the patient’.
Her first months as a qualified nurse working in the local hospice have been challenging as you never stop learning. Sarah ended by telling them all to:

“Enjoy being a student!”

Sarah was much more confident this time than the first time she spoke - amazing what qualifying does for your confidence:)
Sarah was much more confident this time than the first time she spoke – amazing what qualifying does for your confidence:)

Final part tomorrow……


About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

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