Melanie Boyle
Access to Nursing
My name is Melanie. I’m a 2nd year nursing student at the University of Dundee studying BSc in Adult nursing.

In March 2020, as the covid-19 pandemic hit and people close to me became very ill, I wanted to reach out and help. It was then I decided to go back into education and start my career in nursing. With heaps of motivation and a fire in my belly, I enrolled on the SWAP Access to nursing programme via UHI Perth. In 2021, I passed the programme and was offered a place at the University of Dundee studying a BSc in Adult Nursing.

My transition from college to university was daunting, or so I thought. Initially, I worried about everything, how would I fit in? how would I manage the balance between family and university life? How would I cope with exams? Nonetheless, what I didn’t realise at the time was how much the SWAP Access to nursing programme gets you ready for university life. The critical skills you learn and develop at college allow you to hit the ground running in the first year of university. The structure and virtual delivery of theory and face-to-face sessions are very similar to university. In my experience, the transition was smooth and positive with many elements just like college.    

During your first week, you are allocated an Advisor of Studies (AOS) who supports your three-year nursing journey. You can discuss a range of topics with them, for example, course concerns, financial issues, personal issues and health and well-being. This support was vital.  The biggest challenge in my transition was, overnight I became an academic student and there is a huge emphasis on self-directed, evidence-based research. I recognised I quickly needed to take ownership of my own learning, building learning strategies and further develop my reading skills to deepen my knowledge and understanding.  

To anyone feeling anxious and nervous about going to university, I would say this is normal, everyone experiences first-year jitters. However, be proactive, enthusiastic and open to new learning experiences. You are ultimately the only one responsible for your time and experiences at university.  So, grab it with both hands and enjoy the ride, it passes in a flash.
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