Ailsa Davidson - BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing

Ailsa Davidson
Being made redundant from a career in retail, encouraged 26-year-old Ailsa Davidson to refocus her priorities. With a realisation she wanted to help people, Ailsa was drawn to Nursing and is now starting her first job at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after gaining a 2:1 in Adult Nursing.

As a school leaver from Linlithgow Academy, Ailsa initially studied Education at University but soon decided this wasn’t for her. She moved into a career in supermarket management, where she worked for a few years before redundancy prompted her to reconsider her early career choices.

“Redundancy encouraged me to re-focus what was important to me. I realised I loved working with and supporting people from all backgrounds. I’d always had a passion for sciences and felt drawn towards nursing. I believed it would offer me a rewarding career and the opportunity to support others at a difficult time in their life.

“I wanted to become a nurse so I could make a meaningful difference during the hardest time in many people’s lives. Hospitals can be stressful and scary, not only for the patient, but also their family and friends. I felt I had great people skills which would transfer well into a career in nursing and help those around me relax and trust my expertise. It’s so important to have someone who can explain what's happening, what the options for treatment are, and to just be a friendly listening ear, during the challenges people face when ill.”

As Ailsa had been out of school for a few years, she decided to go back to study by attending a course at North East Scotland College (NEScol). Here she gained a SCQF Level 6 Health and Social Care qualification and built-up relevant experience with care management terms and common first aid strategies which would benefit her future career. This gave her the confidence to apply study BSc Adult Nursing at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedic Practice at RGU.

“I chose to undertake the honours degree in nursing at RGU because I liked the idea of gaining more research skills and completing a dissertation on a topic area which I was passionate about. I was also really excited about the practical side of the job, and the course offered a range of placements and clinical skills in RGU’s campus.”

Throughout her time at RGU, Ailsa benefited from advice and support from the University’s Career Service, who helped with applications for her current post and valuable interview skills to ease the stress of a job hunt.

Reflecting on her achievements at RGU, Ailsa said: “I am really proud of what I have achieved and thoroughly enjoyed my time at RGU. Studying nursing during the pandemic, brought its own unique challenges, especially working in the ward environment and learning from home, however, the experience made me even more determined to pursue a career in nursing. I am especially proud of the difference I feel I have already made to patients and their families on placement.

“My standout highlight was taking part in the placements provided and required by the course which made me realise even more that nursing was for me. RGU provided a variety of practical placements to develop our skills. I was lucky to gain experience in a variety of areas including practical experiences in small hospitals such as Banff, elective surgical areas such as Orthopaedics at Woodend, specialised medical areas such as  Neurology and specialised surgical areas in Neurosurgery. I also did a placement on ward 105 at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where I was hired to begin my nursing career which has allowed me to hone the skills required to be a good nurse.   

“I also really enjoyed the science modules as part of the course. I find it really interesting how the human body works and how medications interact with these systems. I also find this knowledge is fundamental in being able to help explain to patients what their disease is and how it is impacting them to allow them to have a better understanding of the care and treatment they may require.”

Now that Ailsa is graduating from RGU, she is starting her first staff nurse post in a busy General Medicine and Diabetes ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.  

“It feels surreal to see how much has changed and how far I have come in five years. To say I am now a staff nurse, working in a fast-paced environment and helping people every day, is a dream come true. There have definitely been some challenges in getting here, every day is different and some more challenging than others, but I am delighted to have taken the leap back to study and to be working in an area where I truly feel I make a difference every day.

“I’m also considering further education in the future as I realise there are so many careers in nursing. I may take some time to pursue more research and am considering lecturing one day. But right now, I'm ready to enjoy my first post as a nurse and all the opportunities that it will provide.

“RGU has really helped me make the career switch into nursing that I yearned for. The course in Adult Nursing is geared to give you the best start in your future career and I’d encourage anyone considering making the switch to nursing, to just go for it! My best advice for anyone thinking to pursue nursing is to ask the questions. The more you ask the more you learn and get out of theory and placement modules.”

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