I study nursing: Amy Wenham

Hear from an undergraduate nursing student
Meet Amy, a Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) student. Find out why she chose to study nursing, what a typical day at uni looks like and what surprised her most about studying at the University of Sydney.

Why did you choose to study nursing?

I fell in love with medicine while working in an emergency department in the United States. I decided to pursue nursing because I wanted a career that was not the same day-in-day-out. I wanted a career that was both interesting and challenging – emotionally, physically, and most importantly intellectually.

Nursing gives me a career that I get to build relationships with my patients and their families and enables me to engage with their stories while providing them with care.

Were you always interested in the Bachelor of Nursing?

No, I originally was completing an undergraduate degree in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering in the US. It was only after I began working part-time in an emergency department that I realised I wanted to pursue a nursing career.

What was your favourite subject in high school?

English literature. I have loved to read since I was a small child. English literature meant that I got to spend an entire class reading or talking about a book!

What subjects did you do for your HSC?

I actually didn’t sit the HSC as I finished school in Oklahoma. I had to take the SAT and ACT. The SAT covered critical reading, mathematics and writing. Whereas the ACT, covered math, science, reading, English and writing.

What's your favourite unit of study at the moment?

It’s hard to say what my favourite unit would be, but if I had to choose I would say... Context of Health and Disease. We had some fantastic speakers that came and spoke to us about nursing in diverse social contexts such as refugee health and charity work.

What does your typical day at uni look like?

A typical day for me involves a lot of coffee! I normally have anywhere from two to four classes, with study and group presentations thrown in here and there. But my favourite part of any typical uni day is the people!

What surprised you most about this degree?

The intensity of nursing school surprised me the most. There are often days when you will be trying to study for a quiz, go to class, finish an assignment and sleep somewhere in-between. Nursing school quickly teaches you how to prioritise!

How does university compare to high school?

I would say that they are quite different. Learning at university is a lot more independent, there is a greater amount of responsibility and you need to be able to take the initiative to get all your assignments and readings done.

What are your classmates like?

The friends that you make during nursing school quickly become like family.

What are your lecturers like?

All the lecturers are very approachable. Whether it’s about an assignment or something that you didn’t quite get in a lecture. They are always willing to help.

Have you been involved in anything outside the classroom?

I have been very fortunate to be involved in a number of different roles. I am currently the president for the Sydney University Nursing Society, secretary for the MIRAGE Rural Health Club and a representative on a number of different boards and committees.

What are your future career plans?

My goal is to pursue a career working with organisations such as the World Health Organization in emergency and disaster relief management.

Do you have any advice for someone who is thinking about applying for this degree?

Nursing school is quite different from any other degree. It is often the friends that you make here that help get you through everything! Get involved in student groups, make friends with people in your classes and always remember why you wanted to become a nurse!


4 October 2017