Bachelor of Science with Honours (Neuroscience), Master of Nursing Science
Registered Nurse, The Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch
I completed an honours degree in Neuroscience in 2016 and was wondering what to do for a career. I felt that research wasn't going to provide the stability that I wanted and I'd always been interested in doing something clinical. A medical degree would take a further five years of study, while all other options made me feel as though my previous degree wasn't going to help me move forward.
As I began researching my options I stumbled upon the MNSc program. It built on my current degree, would enable me to graduate with a master's, and meant that I could be in paid employment and on the front line of health in only two years. It certainly ticked all the right boxes.
I enjoyed being in a small class of intelligent people, with an awesome and varied collective knowledge and skill set. The lecturers were highly supportive and dedicated, creating a highly conducive environment for learning. While there was a high workload, all content was self-directed learning and the thesis was a great exercise in academic creativity and freedom.
I had an excellent preceptor for my thesis, who always went the extra mile and usually returned my drafts within 24 hours, with useful feedback. Lecturers were intelligent, empathetic communicators who seemed to genuinely care about you and your learning. I also had a small group of peers that were helpful for bouncing ideas off and venting our frustrations.
I entered nursing feeling like I was ready for my career. The New Entry into Specialised Practice programme was a breeze compared to the assignments for MNSc and I felt well prepared for any academic challenges too. I am also currently doing regular marking and academic liaison (looking after nursing students on placement) contracts through the University of Otago, which is a great learning opportunity and a welcome boost to my income.
I have started further study to help improve my clinical skills and possibly move towards a nurse practitioner role. However, I would consider doing a PhD if the timing was right and I can think of a topic I am passionate about. Otherwise, I am continuing to gain new knowledge every day that I am working in my field and am not set on staying in any place in particular.