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Thinking of training as a mental-health nurse after 5 years as a SAHM. Any advice would be welcome!

(5 Posts)
lilyandoscarsmummy Mon 04-Mar-13 14:15:23

Firstly, I'm not sure if I've posted this in the correct place as am fairly new to mumsnet, so I apologise if I have! Really I am looking for advice or suggestions from fellow parents of re- training after being a stay at home parent for a while, particularly if anybody has done a nursing degree and their experiences if it?. Just a bit of background, I'm 29, have 2DC aged 5 and 2.5, I have been a SAHM for 5 years, working part time for 2 years inbetween children. I have a degree in psychology and began a teacher training course but realised it wasn't for me. I have attended introduction to counselling courses and volunteered with home start since being at home. My DS is starting pre school in Sep and full time school Sep 2014 and I'm at the point where I know I need to return to work, financially and mentally! I really want to use my degree and think I would l want to train as a nurse, probably mental health nursing. I have looked at local courses and available funding etc and it seems feasible. I just wondered how you go about volunteering experience in hospitals/ healthcare settings, would you apply directly? Also I need to consider the impact on my home life, I can imagine its a demanding course which I'm ready for but would welcome advice on how to manage study, placements and be a mum too! I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment and have low confidence about returning to work and making something of myself having been out of the workplace for a while, but I know I have so much to give and want to achieve something in addition to being a mum. Hope that makes sense. Thanks for reading and i would welcome words any advice smile

MakingAnotherList Tue 05-Mar-13 19:51:21

I was 29 when I started my DipHE Adult Nursing ( I chose DipHE for the generous bursary) and found the workload to be manageable. I found the Mental Health placement much more interesting than my others and really wish that I had listened to my mentor when he told me that I should switch to MH.
I had 4 children aged 9, 8, 2 & 4 months when I started my course.
It was much easier than I thought it would be juggling university, placements and my family.
I studied at a university 50 miles from my home so found that the travelling was the worst part. My placements were all much closer than university and I disliked the long split days of lectures (9-1 then 4-6 for example).
I did my assignments when my children were in bed at night and read the relevant texts between lectures or on the long train journey.

My local hospitals always want volunteers to sit and talk to people with dementia, or to help them eat. Dementia is a large part of mental health nursing.

MrsMeow Mon 25-Mar-13 19:43:14

Hi smile sorry, I'm coming late to this, my friend pointed it out to me a couple of weeks ago but I forgot to post!

I'm just over halfway through a mental health nursing degree and although its a hard slog, it's definitely the best decision I could have made. The fact that you'll be a mature student will go in your favour and your psych degree will help immensely. With regards to volunteering, I'd contact the places directly - nursing homes will be your best bet if you want to start as soon as possible. With hospitals it all has to go through the official channels which may take a while. You'll need a CRB wherever you go though. Have you got any experience at all in healthcare/nursing? They'll ask you this at interview so will be good if not, for you to get even just a few shifts under your belt. Hospices are usually desperate of volunteers too.

With regards to the course itself, the first year was pretty full on as we were in Uni probably 4 days per week from 9.30-3, with the 5th day being directed study (work to do at home, usually online) and of course assignments and exams as well. It tended to be 7 weeks or so in Uni, then 7 weeks placement. The holidays aren't the same as school holidays which may be something to bear in mind. You do get the summer off though, just finish a couple of weeks after the schools and go back later.

This year (my 2nd) has been a bit more manageable. Two days per week in Uni, one directed study and two 12 week placements rather than 3x 7 weeks like last year. The acedemic work itself has gone up a level so is harder and more in depth than last year. Third year will be pretty similar although with a dissertation and a management placement.

The first year for us was a general nursing foundation year, then we branched off into MH this year for two years. Our Uni has just changed this though so no sure if it will be the same for you.

It is hard with children, I won't lie. I'm lucky in that my DC are 12 and 9 (11 and 7 when i started) so I just about manage with the help of before and after school clubs for the youngest and a lot of trust in my (thankfully sensible) eldest. My DH works away during the week though or it would be much easier. There are people on my course with younger DC who manage with help from parents, friends and husbands/wives/partners. Placements are usually pretty understanding and as long as you don't take the mickey will usually let you do pretty much hours to suit (ie: my first general placement I did earlies - 7.30 - 3.30, using school clubs for youngest and doing long days on weekends when DH was home. On my first acute psych placement I did 7.30 - 17.30 to get my hours in. You're expected to work 37.5 hour weeks.

I hope this helps a bit OP smile feel free to send me a message if you need any more info. Good luck!

SleepyCatOnTheMat Tue 02-Apr-13 20:39:58

As a graduate you can do a fast track two-year course to qualify as a nurse, if you are lucky enough to live near a uni that runs it (guessing you don't want to relocate). You sound like an excellent candidate for the course already, without doing further voluntary work (I started, but didn't complete, a mental health nursing course - I had only worked as a teaching assistant and had no healthcare experience, in fact I think of the eight of us in my cohort only one had healthcare experience. With your Home Start experience you're in a strong position). Get applying! You could still make it onto a course starting in September.

Saro14 Mon 24-Feb-14 16:13:39


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