Hello everyone! My name is Athanasios Kandias and I am currently a trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Acute Medicine.
I always wanted to do an MSc in Advanced Nursing Practice. Unfortunately, that was not available in my country, so I found that the UK was offering it. I came to Scotland in 2012 as I liked the Scottish scenery and I did not mind cold weather. I worked in primary care for approximately 2 years and I currently work in secondary care. There was a lot of things to learn and many cultural differences.
From 2016, I have been working towards my MSc, with the great assistance of my workplace and RGU. I am in the second year of my MSc and there have been a few difficulties that life puts forward and I had to postpone my studies. It is indeed very difficult to combine full-time working, MSc studying, and family with a 3-year old and another coming soon, on top of buying a house to help your family settle. The transition was a lot easier with the support given by all the tutors in RGU and my managers at work. I want to take this opportunity to thank them for making all these overwhelming changes, manageable.
Studying at a university is a testament to one’s commitment to their future and progression, with a lot of learning and studying involved. The best way that I could describe it is that I was feeling that I was in a bubble. I completed training and achieved my goals, but then I wanted to achieve more and then I was in another bubble that I had to complete even more things. Every time it feels never-ending and as you learn more, you only then realise how limited your knowledge is overall, and how much more is to learn out there.
Since 2016, my sphere of competence and responsibilities gradually and steadily increased. I have become more competent and confident in clinical examination of patients, learned more things about chronic diseases and policies that shape healthcare, I am performing venepuncture, cannulation, midline insertion and holter placement. I also hold the receiving phone for Acute medicine, that receives phone calls from primary care with unwell patients and triage where these patients are best seen at. My next learning goals are non-medical prescribing, lumbar puncture, ultrasounds and of course finishing the MSc. Thanks to my workplace team and RGU tutors support, these goals have become reality.
The best thing that I can advise all students is to:
a) Manage their time wisely and do not leave studying to the last minute because you learn less, you stress and ultimately increase your chances to fail and get more disappointed
b) A balance for life a studying is required with careful planning, however, circumstances can easily change this delicate balance, so always inform your managers/tutors for support to achieve your studies.
At the end of the day, you will get great help and you will be able in most situations to re-balance your life again. So don’t give up and move forward, while utilising all the help you can get to achieve your goals and save time in the long run.