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Student Story: An Interview with Chris O'Dwyer, UCD General Nursing (1/2)

Tuesday, 14 May, 2024

Chris O'Dwyer General Nursing Student

Simply being with the patient is the very essence of nursing”

Chris O’Dwyer is a second year General Nursing student at UCD. In this article, Chris tells us how they came to study nursing as a mature learner, what they think makes a good general nurse and a little bit more about their journey so far…

So Chris, tell us a bit about yourself – what did you do prior to studying nursing?

Before beginning my journey into nursing I was working in the social care sector specialising in homelessness. I started out as a volunteer but transitioned into a full time role in an emergency night shelter. I held various roles before becoming a deputy manager of a service right before the Covid-19 pandemic started. I worked through the pandemic but in 2021 made the decision to undertake a QQI Level 5 in Nursing Studies. It was the right time for me and my family to make the change - I was even able to pick up a job in a nursing home where I was able to learn some clinical skills and support my education.

What made you decide to study general nursing?

I always remember wanting to be a nurse - I admired nurses and the work they did every time I visited a family member in hospital, but the timing was always wrong for me. I eventually had to have a word with myself and it was a case of now or never. I had a chat with my family and before I knew it the decision was made. I chose general nursing because I did not know what area of nursing I wanted to specialise in and the general nursing programme gives me the opportunity to explore before I make my decision.

What's been the most rewarding part of the programme to date?

To be honest, there have been so many rewarding moments, from getting my first set of exam results (which gave me such a confidence boost in my academic abilities), to completing my blocks of clinical placement and reading the very positive feedback from my preceptors**. That said, nothing beats the encouragement and feedback you get directly from patients and their family members - that for me is the very pinnacle of the programme. Simply being there with the patient, to listen to their worries, hold their hand when they are scared, or assist them with a care need is the very essence of nursing. The great Maya Angelou once wrote that “As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul, and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel”.

**a preceptor is an experienced  practitioner who provides supervision for students during their placement. They assist student nurses with the application of their theoretical learning in the clinical setting.

What in your opinion makes a good general nurse?

According to Chris, the follow attributes are key in someone looking to be a general nurse:

  • Someone who is empathetic;
  • Someone who enjoys being around people;
  • Someone who is curious about the human body and how it works and why it does what it does - but also what to do when it stops doing what it should do;
  • Someone who has a deep sense of care for other people.

If you think you have what it takes to join the next wave of general nurses, or if you just want to find out more, (opens in a new window)contact us and our expert Admissions Team will be happy to advise.

Attend one of our upcoming Open Days: (opens in a new window)https://www.myucd.ie/visiting-ucd/events/ `

OR call us on +353 1 716 6488

Contact the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems

Health Sciences Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4
T: +353 1 716 6488 | Location Map(opens in a new window)