‘University’ is a word that can evoke fear and excitement in many first-year students. For UTS health students, though, there’s really no need to worry, thanks to the faculty’s annual ‘nursing bootcamp’.
Unlike other bootcamps though, this one doesn't involve camouflage, training or intense exercise. Instead, you get the chance to embark on an Amazing Race-style urban orienteering adventure, find out everything you need to know about Getting Good Grades and more.
According to nursing student Liv Edwards, “Bootcamp was a great experience and a nice way to meet people. Everyone was so warm and friendly; I just knew I was home.”
And that’s the point, explains Lecturer Lisa Townsend. “Bootcamp promotes the idea of students having a good time, getting to know each other and finding out how the expectations and opportunities at university differ from what they may have experienced before.
We want them to understand the professional and academic potential in their nursing program.”
It’s also about getting students ready for the realities of working as a nurse.
“All of our students go on clinical placement, every single semester throughout their degree,” says Townsend. “And to get started on that clinical placement, they have to be prepared.
“They have to be up-to-date with all their immunisations and have had a whole lot of criminal record checks, so the earlier we can start students on that journey the easier it is for them.”
To do this, nursing bootcamp includes practical sessions about preparing for clinical placement, creating a professional identity, setting up an e-portfolio, navigating the IT systems in UTS’s computer labs and, of course, Getting Good Grades.
“That was talking about practical elements – preparing for first assignments and things we need them to know – looking at marking matrixes, thinking about plagiarism issues and explaining the referencing techniques we use,” says Townsend.
Students say the unique orientation experience is a huge stress reliever. “By telling us what to expect and what guidelines to follow, offering insight into the roles of nurses and allowing interaction with other students, it meant I was confident and ready to start my degree,” affirms first-year nursing student Heather Abrahams.
“The study tips and skills really helped me to improve my organisation and time management before I even stepped inside a classroom,” she adds.
Also a hit, are the talks where third-year students explain what kinds of things first-year students learn and the professional attributes they should start attaining now.
Edwards says, “Empathy is the number one professional attribute needed as a nurse, so you can understand the lives and situations of others and enhance the patient/nurse relationship. That’s really the basis for successful treatments.
“But you also need time management and organisation so you can keep up-to-date with treatment and patient improvement or decline. By showing us videos and giving examples of how these attributes will help us succeed, it was really clear what we need to do to be good students, good nurses, and overall better people of the world.”