Talking to student nurses at York Uni

Tuesday saw me at York Uni for a session with the 150 1st year students who I first met in September on their very first day…..

This time was slightly different as I had a playmate in the form of Sarah my daughter! She was there to speak to them about being a former student and how her world has now changed since qualifying and having her dream job in York hospice.

It was a very cold, frosty but beautiful day and Sarah decided to take us the country route as she’d seen a 3 mile tail back on the other side on the main road so it was a lovely drive.
As soon as we approached the Vale of York, the sun disappeared and a the misty murky fog appeared…..

We got to the uni to be met by Rob, but he immediately lost a brownie point as he’d forgotten to sort a cuppa!

However, once we got into the lecture theatre, he introduced us to the 150 students and once I started, went off and got us a cuppa – brownie point reinstated……..😊

Took this first just in case they didn't want to show their faces!
Took this first just in case they didn’t want to show their faces!

I spoke to them first about my experience, the side of dementia that people often forget about – i.e how our other sense can be affected and how they can use this in their experience with patients.
“ So once again, be aware of this on the ward – someone may not have touched their meal or drink because they simply can’t see it or they don’t like that food.
Someone may seem agitated if there’s loud noises. Someone may see things differently to how you see them.”

I then gave them a rest from my voice and Sarah took over and spoke about her experience of being a nurse in a hospice and how much she’d learnt since qualifying a year ago. How being a nurse had affected the way she saw me.

I then finally finished by talking about language and misconceptions…….

They were very attentive and it appeared to go down well. Some were making lots of notes…..
I ended by saying:

“Nothing is impossible, doing something difficult just takes a bit longer.
Every nurse who comes into contact with a patient can have a profound effect on that person. A bad experience will be remembered for a very long time and leave the patient feeling fearful. A good experience will leave the patient feeling happy and content and grateful for your care. A person with dementia like me remembers very little of the detail but one thing we always remember is how you made us feel. Something as simple as holding the person’s hand can leave that person feeling content safe and secure.
I hope to see you all again as you develop your expertise and become wonderful nurses – you never know, one day I may need be in your care.”

It was as wonderful as always to see the students and we couldn’t finish without having a photo of us all…this time with faces now they felt comfortable……and me and Sarah in the middle…..



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.

3 thoughts on “Talking to student nurses at York Uni

  1. I must go back to the beginning of your blog and read it in its entirety. I am 57, going to be 58 in a few days and suffered at least two non sports related Traumatic Brain Injuries before I was 21. So have been living with this a long time. Can relate to the memory issues you are having as I deal with them too, to a certain extent on a daily basis. Thanks for educating the public on this forgotten disease,


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